PANDELELA Rinong is unquestionably a champion.
She has inscribed her name in the record books as the first Malaysian woman to qualify for the Olympics.
Yes, our Sarawakian diving queen is one of 12 divers in the world to have qualified for the finals. That’s right in the world.
She finished in fifth place during the semi-finals. She had earlier finished in second place to qualify for the semi-finals.
While she is definitely still in the running for a medal when the finals take place at 2am Malaysian time, I would like to put into perspective how absolutely awesome it is that she is in the finals!
As a Sarawakian, I have followed her rise to world championship level with great interest.
While this blog has had many entries about her exploits, I have not had the privilege of actually watching her dive very often.
Seeing her dive in the semi-finals just now really brought a lump to my throat and I am not ashamed to admit it.
Perhaps I am just getting sentimental in my old age but how could any Sarawakian not feel pride seeing this young Bidayuh lady from Bau competing at the Olympics with the world’s best? That she IS one of the world’s best!
Think how much money countries such as China and the United States have put into training their divers.
Think how much money Malaysia has put into diving. I don’t have the figures but I am sure it is not as much as for badminton and football.
Yet our girl Pandelela has shown what can happen when you invest in pure raw talent.
Imagine what she could do with the same investment as what’s given to the divers of the major powers.
Anyway, whatever happens I believe Pandelela will do her best.
Shine on Anak Sarawak!