Saturday, 21 July 2012

Pandelela Rinong Pamg, a Malaysian Olympian is a BIGBANG VIP!

Pandelela Rinong Pamg competes in the Women’s 10m Platform Final during the FINA Diving World Series in Beijing, China

Pandelela Rinong Pamg
Events:  Diving (3-meter springboard synchronized, 10-meter platform synchronized and 10-meter platform individual)
Born:  March 2, 1993

Pandelela Rinong hails from the east Malaysian state of Sarawak. When Ms. Pandelela was eight years old and in elementary school, her state’s diving coach visited several elementary schools to select students who were suitable for aquatic sports – and Ms. Pandelela was among those chosen.

She learned basic swimming for several months  before she started to dive at the age of nine.  Five years later, in 2007, she made the cut for the national diving team at the young age of 14.

Ms. Pandelela’s first international event was the FINA Diving World Cup in Beijing in February 2008, where she finished sixth out of a field of 24 in the 10-meter platform event. That earned her a place in the 2008 summer Olympics, though she did not win a medal.

Ms. Pandelela’s career got another boost, though, at world championships in Rome in 2009 when she partnered with ten-year veteran Leong Mun Yee to win the bronze medal in the 10-meter platform (synchronized) event. In August 2010, at the Youth Olympics in Singapore, Ms. Pandelela won two silver medals in the 3-meter springboard and 10-meter platform events.

Two months later, at the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, Ms. Pandelela won the gold medal in the 10-meter platform competition, edging out leading Australian diver Melissa Wu. Her achievement was the first time a Malaysian athlete won a gold medal in diving.

“That was my personal best,” Ms. Pandelela said in an email from China, where her diving team is training.
Ms. Pandelela clinched a place in the coming Olympics when she finished fourth in the 10-meter platform event at the World Aquatic Championships in Shanghai last July – a result that came on top of several medals she won at events last year. All this achievement earned her the country’s sportswoman award in April, beating favorites like squash world number one Nicole David, who is Malaysian.

Early this month, Ms. Pandelela was chosen as the country’s flag bearer at the London opening ceremonies – the first time Malaysia has chosen a woman to carry its flag at the Olympic ceremonies.

Just 19 years old, Ms. Pandelela is studying sports science at Bukit Jalil Sports School, though she has postponed her studies for two years to focus on competing.

“I had to postpone my studies because of the Olympics,” she said. “Still, I do try and study at nights, after training, to catch up with what I have missed.” Ms. Pandelela is also a big  fan of Korean pop music and drama. 

 Her favorite group is Big Bang, a Korean boy band.

Any athlete bringing home a gold medal will get a big reward in Malaysia since the government, in its efforts to encourage its athletes, is offering cash rewards. A gold medalist will get RM1 million (US$316,000), while silver winners get RM300,000 (US$95,000) and bronze winners take home RM100,000 (US$32,000). In addition, winners will also be given life-long pensions ranging from RM2,000 to RM5,000 (US$630 to US$1,580) a month.

Memorable quote
“I will tell myself not to think negative thoughts.”

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