KUCHING: National diving star Pandelela Rinong Pamg was conferred the Johan Bintang Kenyalang (JBK), the state’s most senior medal, for her achievement in the London Olympics recently.
The 19-year-old Bidayuh from Kampung Jugan, Bau received the award from Head of State Tun Abang Muhammad Salahuddin Abang Barieng at a special investiture at the Astana here yesterday.
This makes her the first athlete in Sarawak to receive the award.
Pandelela won the bronze medal in the women’s 10m platform, making her the first Malaysian woman to win an Olympic medal.
She also became the first Malaysian to win a medal in a sport other than badminton.
Pandelela was also the nation’s flag bearer at the opening of the Olympics.
She expressed her gratitude to the state government and the Head of State for recognising her achievement.
“I felt nervous before receiving the award from the Head of State because it’s a first for me.
“It (getting the award) was more nervous than before the diving competition in the Olympics.
“I thank Tun for the award. This is a proud moment for me, my family as well as the Bidayuh community,” she said.
Also present at the investiture were Salahuddin’s wife Toh Puan Norkiah, Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud and wife Puan Sri Ragad Kurdi Taib, Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Alfred Jabu, the three Senior Ministers – Tan Sri Dr James Masing, Tan Sri William Mawan, Datuk Seri Wong Soon Koh – Infrastructure Development and Communications Minister Datuk Seri Michael Manyin, DUN Speaker Datuk Amar Mohd Asfia Awang Nassar and several assistant ministers, Pandelela’s parents Pamg Joheng and Hartini Lamin and two other Olympians Bryan Nickson Lomas and Traisy Vivian Tukiet.