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Borneo, Sarawak, Sarawakian

Could Pandelela Rinong win Sarawak’s first Olympic medal?

AS the countdown begins to the London Olympics in July, there is definitely a chance for Sarawak to get its first Olympic medal through our diving queen Pandelela Rinong.

This Sarawakian sporting superstar recently became the first Malaysian to finish in the top three overall in the four-leg FINA Diving World Series!

Although she only finished fifth in the women’s 10-metre platform final in Tijuana, Mexico, she still received the top prize of US$10,000 — that’s over RM30,000!!

Pandelela had previously managed bronze medals in Dubai and Beijing before finishing fourth and fifth at the Moscow and Tijuana legs.

Although China’s reigning Olympic champion Chen Ruolin, who did not compete Tijuana, and Mexico’s former world champion Paola Espinosa finished joint first with 54 points each, the FINA rules state that only those who compete in all four legs are eligible for the top three prize money of US$10,000 (RM30,000), US$8,000 (RM24,500) and US$6,000 (RM18,370).

Pandelela won the cash prize because Ruolin and Paola each missed one leg.

Before anyone starts to criticise Malaysia’s newly crowned Sportswoman of the Year for coming in fifth in Tijuana, let’s not forget that Pandelela only arrived in Mexico barely hours before having to compete after a grueling 21-hour journey from Kuala Lumpur the day after receiving her crown.

She could have chosen to miss the awards ceremony and flown from Moscow, where she last competed, directly to Mexico so she would have had more time to rest, but she had the decency to honour the event with her presence and accept the award in person from Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah.

Let’s also not forget that the FINA Diving World Series, which began in 2007, is only for the top eight ranked divers in the world.

So Pandelela’s achievement is still really outstanding.

The 19-year-old is now ranked second overall in the 10-metre women’s platform individual discipline.

In the synchro event, Pandelela and partner Leong Mun Yee finished third overall.

Pandelela will compete both events, as well as the 3m springboard synchro with Cheong Jun Hoong.

“I will need to work towards scoring 340 points and above to stand a chance of a medal,” she is quoted as saying.

Pandelela has three months to ensure she is in top form for London.

“We are scheduled to train in China six weeks before London which will be crucial in our preparation as we will be able to focus without disturbance,” she said.

She will also compete in Grand Prix events in Montreal, Canada (May 3-6) and Fort Lauderdale, US (May 10-13) prior to the China stint.

Let’s pray that Pandelela will be free from ill and injury so that she can compete at her full potential in London.

Shine on Anak Sarawak. Shine on.

The New Straits Times reports:

Diving: Pandelela’s moment

PANDELELA Rinong, who won the national Sportswoman of the Year on Tuesday, has dived her way into the history books, becoming the first Malaysian to finish third overall in the four-leg FINA Diving World Series.

Pandelela could only finish fifth in the women’s 10-metre platform final in Tijuana, Mexico yesterday but her outstanding performances in the previous three legs earned the 19-year-old an overall podium finish with 50 points and US$10,000 (RM30,620) in prize money.

Pandelela’s encouraging performance in the world series puts her on the right course for the London Olympics, where the unofficial target from the National Sports Council (NSC) is two medals.

China’s reigning Olympic champion Chen Ruolin, who did not compete yesterday, and Mexico’s former world champion Paola Espinosa finished joint first with 54 points each.

According to FINA rules, only those who compete in all four legs are eligible for the top three prize money of US10,000 (RM30,000), US8,000 (RM24,500) and US6,000 (RM18,370).

Pandelela won the cash prize meant for the first ranked diver as Ruolin and Paola each missed one leg.

She and Leong Mun Yee will compete in the platform synchro today, where they are ranked third overall.

The Asian Games medallist only arrived in Mexico barely hours before yesterday’s event after a 21-hour journey from Kuala Lumpur, a day after the National Sports awards.

Fatigue and a lower back injury affected Pandelela’s performance to an extent but she did just enough to finish fifth in Mexico.

Amateur Swimming Union of Malaysia (ASUM) secretary Edwin Chong was not surprised with Pandelela not winning a medal in Mexico.

“She did not dive to her true potential as she was tired. Anyway, we are confident she will perform better in the forthcoming events,” said Edwin.

Paola won the gold with 367.4 points followed by Canada’s Meaghan Benfeito (356.4), Germany’s Nora Subschinski (337.1), England’s Tonia Couch (326.65) and Pandelela (325.90).

The New Delhi Commonwealth Games champion posted an average 58.5 points before following up with 75.4, 67.2, 70.4 and 66 in her following dives.

Pandelela, however, needs to be more consistent if she hopes to win the country’s first Olympic medal at the London Games.

National coach Yang Zhuliang had said that the divers cannot afford more than one mistake at the Olympics.

“If you make one mistake at the Olympics, you will lose the gold medal to China and if you commit more than one mistake, you will not make it to the podium,” Zhuliang told his divers in training recently.

Diving: Pandelela thinks positive

POTENTIAL: Sarawakian believes Olympic gold within reach if China’s stars slip up

PANDELELA Rinong believes she has the ability to win gold at the Olympics but only if China’s favourites slip up.

Pandelela, 19, is confident of a medal in London following her overall second place in the 10-metre women’s platform individual discipline at the four-leg FINA World Diving Series.

And in synchro, she and partner Leong Mun Yee consolidated their position as one of the potential medallists in London by finishing third overall.

Both results have added momentum to Pandelela’s preparation for London, where the Sarawak diver will compete in three events, including the 3m springboard synchro with Cheong Jun Hoong.

China’s reigning Olympic and world champion Chen Ruolin is the favourite as she has won every 10m platform competition this year, including synchro with Wang Hao.

Pandelela, however, must also be wary of Mexico’s former world champion Paolo Espinosa, Canada’s Meaghan Benfeito and Germany’s Nora Subschincki, who have been making progress of late.

“I am nearly there. As long as I go to the Olympics fully fit, all I need to do is put pressure on them, especially those from China,” said Pandelela when contacted in Tijuana, Mexico on Sunday.

“We’ve seen in the past that by putting pressure on them, they do miss dives. We have seen other countries do that to them.

“Gold is definitely not out of reach. But if they don’t miss their dives, you’re going to struggle, so silver or bronze is a more realistic target.

“I will need to work towards scoring 340 points and above to stand a chance of a medal.”

Pandelela finished second behind Chen Ruolin in the World Series with bronze medals in Dubai and Beijing before finishing fourth and fifth at the Moscow and Tijuana (Mexico) legs respectively.

In synchro, Pandelela-Mun Yee, the 2010 Commonwealth Games champions, started the season with impressive silver and bronze efforts in Dubai and Beijing.

However, they failed to impress in the following stops in Moscow and Tijuana, finishing fourth and fifth respectively.

Pandelela said: “Fatigue and my back injury affected me in the last two legs.

“The Olympics is about three months away and I believe I have enough time to get back into form.

“We are scheduled to train in China six weeks before London which will be crucial in our preparation as we will be able to focus without disturbance,” she said.

Pandelela said China’s divers can be beaten in competitions.

“Chen (Ruolin) is a great diver but she is not as strong as she was before.

“Her entries are not clean but somehow she still manages to come up with good points to win.

“(Yu) Hadan has her own strengths but she can also be inconsistent at times.”

The eight Olympic bound divers will compete in Grand Prix events in Montreal, Canada (May 3-6) and Fort Lauderdale, US (May 10-13) before heading to China for a six-week training stint.

A report from The Star:

Pandelela finishes in the top three of the Diving World Series

PETALING JAYA: Newly crowned National Sportswoman of the Year Pandelela Rinong capped a smashing week by earning a top three finish in the overall standings of the 10m platform individual event after the final round of the FINA Diving World Series in Tijuana.

Pandelela did not win a medal after finishing fifth in the 10m platform individual final but she was still a big winner in the Mexican city as she pocketed the overall first place prize money of US$10,000.

Pandelela finished with a total of 50 points against Olympic champion Chen Ruolin of China and world champion Paola Espinosa of Mexico, who both ended with 54 points.

Great run: Pandelela Rinong caps a smashing week by earning a top three finish in the FINA Diving World Series in Tijuana,Mexico.

However, the championship ruling states that a diver has to compete in all four meets, thus ruling out the Chinese and the Mexican, who won in front of the home crowd.

Ruolin. who won the first three rounds, is only competing in the 10m platform synchro while Espinosa, the world champion in 2009, missed the third round in Moscow last weekend.

Pandelela started with bronze medals in Dubai and Beijing but came in fourth in Moscow.

Since the series, which is only for the top eight ranked in the world rankings, began in 2007, the top three overall finishers for individual and synchro will win US$10,000, US$8,000 and US$6,000 respectively.

Pandelela, already richer by RM20,000 after the prize money for the National Sports Awards were doubled for the first time, made the right decision to make the exhausting trip to Tijuana.

The 19-year-old, who is bound for the London Olympics in August, headed straight home on a 10-hour flight from Moscow to attend the National Sports Awards on Tuesday before taking a 21-hour journey to Tijuana.

Amateur Swimming Union of Malaysia (Asum) secretary Edwin Chong said it was not a surprise Pandelela did not win a medal.

“She had no rest compared to the other divers who arrived earlier. She only had one day of training to get herself adjusted to the conditions and it is hard for her to perform to her true potential.

“Pandelela, however, has been consistent in the earlier rounds and that helped her.” Pandelela did not execute the first and fifth attempts well, only earning 58.50 and 54.40 respectively. Not surprisingly, she only managed 325.90 points behind British diver Tonia Couch, who chalked 326.65 points.

Espinosa was on top with 367.40 points with Canadian Meaghan Benfeito taking silver with 356.40 points ahead of Germany’s Nora Subschinski (337.10).

Discussion

One thought on “Could Pandelela Rinong win Sarawak’s first Olympic medal?

  1. Yes. . She’s a Sarawakian. Nuff said. . .

    Posted by windpp | August 9, 2012, 04:31

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