Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Commonwealth Games 2010: Magnificent Pandelela

Pandelela Rinong performs her routine in the 10m platform yesterday. Pandelela scored 371.05 points to win gold.
Pandelela Rinong performs her routine in the 10m platform yesterday. Pandelela scored 371.05 points to win gold.
THE Negaraku was played for the first time ever at a Commonwealth Games aquatics venue yesterday and Malaysia had the impish Pandelela Rinong to thank for.

The 16-year-old, who has shown so much promise, proved that the faith in her was justified with a magnificent win in the 10m platform, a result which pushed the world class Australians into second and third place.

It was also the end of the bridesmaid's tag for Pandelela, who had won two silver in the inaugural Youth Olympics in Singapore and in the Commonwealth Games, and was runner-up with Leong Mun Yee in the 10m platform synchro silver on Sunday.


Her gold was delivered in stunning style as Pandelela, just like she and Mun Yee needed on Sunday, had to produce a superb dive to pip Australian Melissa Wu to the gold and that is exactly what she did.

"I dedicate this gold medal to my parents for the support they have given me," said Pandelela.

It was a triumph which had not looked possible after her second dive, which gave her a mere 58.05 points after opening with a 79.50.


If her first dive had given her a four-point lead over Melissa, the second saw her dropping to fourth.

"I felt a little frustrated as after my first dive, I thought I had a chance of winning gold but the second dive kind of spoilt it."

But Pandelela displayed maturity beyond her years as she pulled herself together.


"I told myself to just focus on my remaining dives as I still had a chance for a medal finish and that was very important."

She also kept reminding herself that she had beaten the Australian in last year's world championships, where Pandelela finished fifth and Melissa sixth.

That saw her edging closer and closer to Melissa and when Pandelela, who was the last to dive by virtue of finishing qualifying as the top ranked diver, made her way to the platform, her coach's advise was ringing in her ears.

"He told me to think only of a perfect dive and nothing else. The Australian was still in the lead but if I executed my final dive perfectly, the gold would be mine."

Which she did and the judges rewarded her with 81.60, the highest scoring dive of the night, and gold was won by the slimmest of margins as Pandelela's final score was 371.05 while Melissa had 369.50. Bronze was won by another Australian, Alexandra Croak.

Malaysia's challenge in the men's 3m springboard ended with Yeoh Ken Nee the best finisher in sixth place with 422.30 points. Bryan Nickson Lomas was seventh (419.30) while Muhd Fakhrul Md Zain (381.50) was 10th.

That didn't matter though and as Pandelela took her medal march, the impish smile was firmly on her face and her thoughts were with her parents but she had done the whole of Malaysia proud.

*Taken from NST Online

*To get Delhi 2010 Commonwelath Game's Medal Tally, click here.

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