PETALING JAYA: Laos SEA Games double gold medallist diver Pandelela Rinong will have her hands full juggling time between training and studies as she has also been earmarked to earn qualification for the inaugural Youth Olympic Games, which will be held in Singapore in August.
Pandelela and Ooi Tzer Liang will be the Malaysian representatives for the Games diving qualifying event in Mexico City from March 12-13.
The Amateur Swimming Union of Malaysia (Asum) secretary, Edwin Chong, said that each country was allowed to field two divers, irrespective of the sex.
“The competitions at the Youth Olympic Games consist of the 10m platform and 3m springboard individual events,” he said.
“Pandelela and Tzer Liang will compete in both disciplines at the qualifiers offering nine places to the Games for each event.
“The Youth Olympics will have 12 qualifiers for each event with the host country getting two entries and the International Olympic Council (IOC) handing out a wildcard.
“It will be a quality field and getting a place from the qualifiers will not be easy. But based on her standards, Pandelela should make the cut for the platform.”
It will be tougher for Tzer Liang, who is from the national back-up squad, as he has to compete in a field headed by reigning world champion Tom Daley of Britain.
It will be a busy year for Pandelela, who not only has to prepare for the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi in October and the Asiad in Guangzhou the following month but will also be sitting for her SPM examinations at the end of the year.
Pandelela, who will be 17 in March, is targeted for a medal finish in her maiden appearance in both Games.
She made a stunning world championship debut in Rome last year by taking fifth place in the 10m platform event.
Pandelela went on to create history with partner Leong Mun Yee, bagging the bronze in the synchronised event for the country’s first-ever world championship medal in aquatics.