No Xmas holiday at home for Pandelela as she’s focused on Olympics

PETALING JAYA: National diver Pandelela Rinong will miss this year’s Christmas celebration with her family but she is fine with it.

The country’s most successful diver from Sarawak has decided to stay put in Kuala Lumpur to focus on her preparation for the Olympic Games in Tokyo next year.

“It’s sad that I won’t be going. I could but I have to be quarantined for two weeks, so it’s best I stay here and celebrate with my teammates and my aunt. Next year, the priority is the Olympic Games, ” said Pandelela.

Her last assignment this year is over with the completion of the two-day Malaysia International Online Diving competition, which ended on Sunday at the National Aquatic Centre in Bukit Jalil.

She took part in the 10m platform synchro with Leong Mun Yee and posted a combined score of 287.64.

Pandelela said they had treated the online meet as the last important competition in 2020.

“The online meet was a unique experience for me. It was quite meaningful too because Malaysia was the first one to organise such event, ” said Pandelela.

“It’s a brilliant idea from our coach Christian Brooker. We must thank him for the work he had put in. It went smoothly.

“I was also part of the process and what an experience it was for me and the others.

“The standard was quite high in some of the events. Most of the participants are young divers but they showed lots of potential.”

The online meet was created to make up for all the tournaments that were cancelled since March because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Pandelela said the year 2020 had taught her to take nothing for granted.

“Through the Covid-19 pandemic, I’ve learnt to appreciate my life and health. And I’m not going to take travelling for granted, ” she said.

Pandelela is in line for double duty in the Olympics. She will compete in the 10m platform individual and synchronised events.

“There are important competitions like the World Cup and World Series which would be good warm-up events for me before the Olympics, ” she said.

“My main goal is to be physically and mentally fit to face the Olympics since I will be participating in two events.

“My target is to secure a medal in either one.”

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