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By Ling Hui
KUCHING, Aug 5: Sarawak’s beloved diving star Pendelela Rinong’s Olympic medal quest has come to an end at the Women’s 10m Platform finals today after finishing Rank 12 with a points score of 245.85.
A slip-up in her first dive, which was scored 18.00 out of 100.00 by the judges, seemed to have added to Pandelela’s tension at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre at 2pm this afternoon.
Her next consecutive dives received scores of 71.05, 60.80, 52.80 and 43.20.
The finals ended with China bagging the gold and silver medals while Australia claimed bronze.
Quan Hongchan and Chen Yuxi from China earned scores of 466.20 and 425.40 respectively, and Australia’s Melissa Wu garnered a score of 371.40, winning her first individual medal in her fourth Olympic appearance.
It has been a tough two days for Pandelela.
Yesterday (Aug 4), she proved her mettle by earning a place in the semi-finals with the 18th spot in the preliminaries while another Malaysian Olympian diver Cheong Jun Hoong finished 26th and was thus eliminated from the competition.
In the semi-finals at 9am this morning, she finished 7th with a total score of 315.75, coming after China, the United States, Mexico, Australia and the Russian Olympic Committee.
Aaron Chia and Soh Wooi Yik have earned Malaysia’s only medal in the Badminton Men’s Doubles on July 31 with their bronze medal.
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’ records 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