Sunday, August 22, 2010

Diver Pandelela is first Malaysian female to win an Olympic medal

PETALING JAYA: Diver Pandelela Rinong etched her name in the history books as the first Malaysian medal winner of the Youth Olympic Games in Singapore last night.

Pandelela defied a stiff neck to nail down a silver medal in the girls’ 10m platform final at the Tao Payoh Swimming Complex.

Silver lining: Diver Pandelela Rinong doing her routine en route to winning the 10m platform diving silver medal at the Youth Olympic Games in Singapore yesterday. — AFP

Pandelela, in fact, led the field of 12 finalists after the first two dives with a four-point margin over Chinese diver Liu Jiao, the Asian Youth Games gold medallist.

However, Liu Jiao took over after the penultimate dive and crushed any hopes the Malaysian had of pulling off an incredible upset by earning a 25-point cushion after the final attempt.

Liu Jiao amassed 479.60 for the gold while Pandelela garnered 454.35 to hold off North Korean Sin Ji-hyang for the silver.

Ji-hyang, the Asian Youth Games silver medallist, settled for bronze with 430.20.

Pandelela had earlier qualified for the final in second spot behind Liu Jiao despite muffing the eighth and final dive in the preliminaries.

Pandelela was the winner of the same discipline at the World Qualifiers in Mexico in March this year but she had no inkling of her form heading into the inaugural Games.

The 17-year-old from Sarawak sprained her neck the week before leaving for the Games and had not expected to be contending for a medal on the high board as she felt the exertions would be too much for her to take.

But yesterday, she displayed true grit in holding off her challengers and will now go down as the first Malaysian female Olympic medal winner.

Pandelela, the World Championships finalist in the 10m platform, will be gunning for a second medal in the 3m springboard event tomorrow.

Chef-de-mission Alex Lim Keng Liat congratulated Pandelela for making the country proud.

“She won the qualifiers in Mexico and was our medal hope here but we did not know her condition because she only joined training not too long after injuring her toe,” he said.

The boy’s 3m springboard competition will be held today but Ooi Tze Liang can only hope to qualify for the final as the event has attracted a starry cast led by Tom Daley of Great Britain and Qiu Bo of China.

Daley and Qiu Bo are the gold and silver medallists at the World Championships in Rome last year.

In athletics, S. Navinraj was placed last in eighth spot in the boy’s high jump final after posting 2.08m. Dmitry Kroytor of Israel took the gold on countback with a height of 2.19m.

Muhd Ajmal Mat Hasan finished fourth in 14.48 in the boy’s 110m hurdles B final.

*Taken from The Star Online

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