By Lian Cheng
KUCHING, Aug 4: Sarawakian diver Pandelela Rinong has proven her mettle by earning a place in Women’s 10m platform diving semi-finals at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre in the ongoing Tokyo Olympics 2020 today.
After two-and a-half hours of competitive diving, Pandelela qualified for the semi-final event by landing in the 18th spot.
Another Malaysian Olympian for the same event, Cheong Jun Hoong who finished in position 26 will not make it to the semi-final round.
Pandelela is set to dive for a chance at winning a medal for nation if she clears the semi-final event tomorrow, with the finals set to take place in the afternoon.
In 2012, Pandelela first caught the world’s attention when she won bronze in the 10m platform diving event at the London Olympics, making her the first female Malaysian athlete to win an Olympic medal.
She followed this up with a silver medal in the 10m synchronised platform diving event with teammate Jun Hoong at the Rio Olympics in 2016.
In May 2021, the pride of Kampung Kupuo Jugan in Bau once again showed her mettle when she won the nation’s first gold medal at the Fina Diving World Cup in women’s 10m platform diving final while also qualifying for the women’s 10m platform diving individual event for Tokyo 2020.
Apart from being the first Malaysian female athlete to win an Olympic medal, Pandelela has also set many other ‘firsts’ for the nation in the international sporting arena.
Taking part in the Fina World Championships in 2009 for the first time, Pandelela won the bronze medal in the 10m platform synchronised diving event. This was also Malaysia’s first ever medal at the World Diving Championships.
At the tender age of 15, she was the youngest Malaysian female diver to qualify for a World Championship final, after finishing fifth in the 10m platform diving event.
Pandelela was also Malaysia’s first female flag bearer at the Olympics in the London 2012 Games. — DayakDaily