NATIONAL diver Pandelela Rinong threw a special New Year dinner recently for her Kampung Jugan folks to show her appreciation for their support and her victory as a gold medallist at the recent Commonwealth Games at New Delhi and silver at the Asian Games in Guangzhou, China.
The dinner was held at Kampung Jugan, Bau, community hall and was attended by hundreds of the villagers, friends, relatives including the chairman of the Bung Bratak Heritage Association, Datuk Peter Minos.
Pandelela is the first Sarawakian and the first Malaysian to have won gold at the Commonwealth Games for synchronised diving. She also won silver at the recent Asian Games in China, on top of many other awards.
“I feel proud with what I have achieved and will continue to do my best for my community (Bidayuh) and the nation,” she said in her thanksgiving message at the dinner.
Meanwhile, Minos said the whole Bidayuh community is very proud of Pandelela, a 17- year-old who is having a lot of discipline, dedication and determination.
“She has made a name and sensation in the Malaysian sports scene. Pandelela, you have shown that where there is a will there is always a way and the Bidayuh youngsters will do very well in emulating you, not just admiring,” commented Minos.
Pandelela was also among four state athletes who were rewarded with incentives amounting to RM160,000 from the state government last December.
They represented the country in the 2010 Commonwealth Games and then followed up by taking part in the Asian Games in Guangzhou, China.
Pandelela and shooter Bibiana Ng received RM50,000 each.
Talented cyclist Josiah Ng, who won a gold and a bronze, received RM45,000 while young and upcoming diver Brian Nickson Lomas received RM15,000 for winning two bronze medals.