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Borneo, Sarawak, Sarawakian

Pandelela Rinong named Malaysian sportswoman of the year

OUR girl Pandelela Rinong has won the National Sportswoman Award!

She is the first diver to earn the country’s highest accolade for athletes.

Pandelela actually beat World No. 1 squash player Nicol David  to claim the RM20,000 prize money! And she received her award from the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah no less!

“Are you sure? I was also nominated for the award last year after winning the New Delhi Commonwealth Games gold medal and the Youth Olympic Games two silver medals in Singapore. But it was Nicol who won. I expected her to do it again as her achievements were great last year,” she is quoted as saying upon hearing of her win.

“I’m very surprised, but I was kind of hoping I could be the winner as I was asked to come back after the Moscow competition to attend the Awards ceremony. I’m happy to get a big recognition for diving.”

She is being rather modest because just last weekend, Pandelela took the bronze in the FINA Diving World Series in Moscow!

Also nominated were shooter Nur Suryani Mohd Taibi, fellow Sarawakian Jacqueline Sijore (bowling) and track cyclist Fatehah Mustapa.

Although Nichol won seven international titles on the WISPA circuit, including a record equalling sixth World Open title in Holland last year, the selection panel recognised that it was Pandelela who had breakthrough achievements in 2011.

Pandelela became the first Malaysian to win a medal at the FINA Diving World Series when she won the silver medal for the 10m platform individual in Moscow last year.

Together with partner Leong Mun Yee, the 19-year-old also won a silver in the 10m platform synchro in the Beijing leg of the series, which is by invitation only to the top eight ranked divers in the world!

Pandelela also won a silver medal at the World University Games in Shenzhen in the 10m platform individual and a bronze with Mun Yee in the synchro discipline.

Her silver medal is the best result by a Malaysian athlete in Universiade history!

Pandelela and Mun Yee also won gold in the platform synchro at the German Open, which made them the first Malaysian diving pair to win at the World Grand Prix circuit.

Sarawak’s diving queen also retained her 10m platform individual, the only event she was entered for, at last year’s SEA Games in Palembang.

Pandelela will next compete in Tijuana, Mexico with Mun Yee for the final round of the diving series.

After that, she is off to London for the Olympics! Awesome stuff and so well deserved.

All the best Anak Sarawak. Continue to shine brightly for our State and country.

The report from The Star:

Pandelela is sportswoman of the year, third time for Chong Wei
By LIM TEIK HUAT

KUALA LUMPUR: Shuttler Lee Chong Wei, as expected, bagged his third National Sportsman Award, thanks largely to his achievement of winning seven international titles apart from reaching the World Championships final in 2011.

Pandelela Rinong sprang a big surprise by capturing the National Sportswoman Award, making her the first diver to earn the country’s highest accolade for athletes.

Pandelela beat the likes of squash queen Nicol David, shooter Nur Suryani Mohd Taibi, bowler Jacqueline Sijore and track cyclist Fatehah Mustapa to claim the RM20,000 prize money.

World No. 1 Nicol enjoyed a fantastic season with seven international titles on the WISPA circuit, including a record equalling sixth World Open title in Holland last year.

The suit fits: Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah helping Pandelela Rinong put on the National Sportswoman of the Year jacket as National Sports Council director-general Zolkples Embong applauds. — SHAARI CHEMAT / The Star

Track cyclist Azizulhasni Awang and Nicol were the respective winners for 2010 but the selection panel opted for Pandelela due to her breakthrough achievements in 2011.

Pandelela became the first Malaysian to win a medal at the FINA Diving World Series when she claimed the silver in the 10m platform individual at the opening leg in Moscow.

She also partnered Leong Mun Yee to a silver in the 10m platform synchro in the Beijing leg of the series, which is by invitation only to the top eight ranked divers in the world.

Pandelela also did the country proud with two medals at the World University Games in Shenzhen – in the 10m platform individual and with Mun Yee in the synchro discipline.

The silver is the best result by a Malaysian athlete in Universiade history.

The 19-year-old Sarawakian also pulled off another first with Mun Yee in bagging gold in the platform synchro at the German Open, making them the first diving pair to win at the World Grand Prix circuit.

Pandelela also retained her 10m platform individual, the only event she was entered for, title with ease at the Indonesia SEA Games.

Pandelela herself, expressed shock but delight at winning the National Sportstwoman Award for the first time.

“Are you sure? I was also nominated for the award last year after winning the New Delhi Commonwealth Games gold medal and the Youth Olympic Games two silver medals in Singapore.

“But it was Nicol who won. I expected her to do it again as her achievements were great last year.

“I’m very surprised, but I was kind of hoping I could be the winner as I was asked to come back after the Moscow competition to attend the Awards ceremony.

“I’m happy to get a big recognition for diving,” said the Olympic-bound Pandelela, who took bronze in the FINA Diving World Series in Moscow last weekend.

Pandelela will fly to Tijuana, Mexico, today to join Mun Yee for the final round of the series.

Chong Wei said winning a third award after 2005 and 2008 will spur him to deliver glory for the country at the London Olympics in August.

“I came close in Beijing four years ago and I’m more mature now.

“This award is a boost to my dream of bringing home Malaysia’s first Olympic gold medal,” said Chong Wei.

The 10-member synchronised swimming team led by Katrina Ann Hadi got the nod for the national women’s team award based on their clean sweep of all five gold medals at stake in the Indonesia SEA Games.

The men’s recurve trio of Chu Sian, Khairul and Haziq was the choice for the men’s team award due to their feat of earning the country the maximum Olympic quota for archery after qualifying for the team event at the World Championships in Italy last year.

The NST version:

SPORTCHECK: Chong Wei, Pandelela honoured

By FADHLI ISHAK

NATIONAL diver Pandelela Rinong edged a strong field to be named 2011 Sportswoman of the Year, while Lee Chong Wei bagged his third Sportsman of the Year title at the National Sports Award ceremony at the Palace of Golden Horses, Seri Kembangan yesterday.

The Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah presented the awards to the winners. Also present were Raja Permaisuri Agong Tuanku Haminah and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek.

Pandelela had an outstanding campaign on the world stage last year, taking a silver medal in the 10m platform individual event at the Moscow leg of the Diving World Series in March.

She teamed up with Leong Mun Yee to capture bronze in the 10m platform synchronised at the Beijing leg of the series a week later.

“I’m very happy to win this award for the first time. This will inspire me for the Olympics. I’m grateful to the judges for choosing me,” said Pandelela.

Pandelela also excelled at the World University Games in Shenzhen, China where she bagged silver in the 10m platform individual as well as bronze in the 10m platform synchronised, also with Mun Yee, last August.

The 19-year-old, who is from Sarawak, closed out her year by taking the gold medal in the 10m platform event at the Indonesia Sea Games last November.

Yesterday, Pandelela edged squash’s much favoured Nicol David, who took her sixth World Open title last year, and bowling World Champion Jacqueline Jenelee Sijore to the title.

Also nominated for the award were double Sea Games gold medallist Nur Suryani Taibi (shooting), cyclist Fatehah Mustapha and wushu exponent Chan Fong Ying.

Chong Wei also had a strong 2011, winning seven titles which included the All England and Korea Open BWF Super Series Premier events.

The national shuttler was not present at the awards ceremony. His brother, Lee Chong Hoon, accepted his award on his behalf.

The 30-year-old national shuttler had beaten bowler Adrian Ang, who won four gold medals at the Indonesia Sea Games, and diver Bryan Nickson Lomas, who won a fourth straight platform individual gold medal, also at the Sea Games.

Also nominated for this year’s award were archer Cheng Chu Sian, karate exponent Leong Tze Wai and bodybuilder Sazali Samad.

Both Pandelela and Chong Wei received RM20,000 each for their award which is a 100 per cent increase from last year.

National track cyclist Azizulhasni Awang and Nicol had won the awards last year.

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