Pandelela, Nur Dhabitah’s future in Road to Gold programme expected to be decided today

Pandelela (left) and Nur Dhabitah (right). Photo credit: Pandelela and Nur Dhabitah's Facebook pages

By DayakDaily Team

KUCHING, Feb 29: Should the Road to Gold (RTG) programme stay true to its initial goal of securing the nation’s first gold medal at the Paris Olympics from July 26 to August 11, the programme’s committee could issue significant announcements today that could potentially lead to the exclusion of divers Pandelela Rinong and Nur Dhabitah Sabri from the initiative.

According to a news report from New Straits Times (NST) published yesterday (Feb 28), Pandelela, 31, and Dhabitah, 24, will find out their fate after the RTG committee meeting, which will be jointly chaired by Youth and Sports Minister Hannah Yeoh and Olympic Council of Malaysia president Tan Sri Norza Zakaria.

Both divers were among the first 15 athletes identified as potential medal contenders in March last year, but they did not qualify for the Paris Games.

“Despite their last-ditch efforts at the World Aquatics Championships earlier this month, Pandelela and Dhabitah performed poorly and fell short of qualification.

“Consequently, they can no longer justify their inclusion in the programme, designed to provide elite athletes with the necessary support to compete for gold medals or podium finishes in Paris,” NST reported.

RTG athletes also receive an extra monthly allowance of RM3,000, along with sports science support, competition exposure, and coaching.

Pandelela and Dhabitah have made remarkable contributions to Malaysia, especially Pandelela, who achieved the country’s first Olympic diving medal at the 2012 London Games.

Should they not be included in the RTG programme, Pandelela and Dhabitah will still be supported through the National Sports Council (NSC)-run Podium Programme, as they are considered the country’s top divers. — DayakDaily