KUALA LUMPUR: Two-time Olympic medallist Pandelela Rinong (pic) is now a shining example of a top athlete who also excels in academic.
The 25-year-old diver is set to graduate with a Bachelor’s degree in Sports Science Management from Universiti Malaya next week.
Pandelela will be joining 5,279 graduates to receive their respective degrees on UM convocation day this Tuesday.
Pandelela enrolled as a student in UM after her historic plunge at the London Olympics in 2012 where she became the first Malaysian female medallist after taking bronze in the women’s 10m platform individual.
Pandelela went on to clinch silver in the Rio Olympics in 2016, partnering Cheong Jun Hoong in the women’s 10m platform synchro competition. The duo also claimed gold in the event at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in April this year.
Pandelela has also won medals at the Diving World Series and Asian Games.
Pandelela, who is on the recovery trail after picking up a back injury just before the Asian Games in Jakarta in August, was relieved to have pulled through despite her hectic schedule.
“I often spend a lot of time away due to training in China and also preparing for competitions, so there is always a lot of catching up to do.
“The lecturers and my course mates have helped me a lot when I have to catch up with my subjects. I have become used to managing my time wisely, finally.
“To me, this is an achievement outside of sport that I will cherish,” said Pandelela, who is hoping to realise a record-equalling fourth Olympic appearance in Tokyo in two years time.
Also graduating is national hockey player Mohammad Fitri Saari.
Fitri, who plays in midfield, expressed his regret over not being able to join the team to compete in the national team’s campaign in the Asian Champions Trophy in Muscat, Oman, because of the convocation.
“But it’s not everyday that I get to take part in a convocation ceremony.
“I want to honour the sacrifices made by myself, my family, friends and lecturers to help me hold a degree in my hands.”