Wednesday August 22, 2012
Pandelela sees rewards as catalyst to better diving future
KUCHING: Olympian Pandelela Rinong Pamg sees the rewards flowing her way as a catalyst to better the future of diving in Sarawak and Malaysia as a whole.
The 19-year-old bronze medallist believes they would inspire other divers to work harder as well as take up diving as a serious sport.
“It’s (the rewards) great for me and also the future of diving. I wish there will be more of these types of rewards (to better) the future of diving,” she told a press conference upon her arrival here at the Kuching International Airport yesterday.
When asked if she had hoped for more as how some fans had suggested, she replied she did not really know what to say about that.
Though tired, the Bidayuh lass still remained upbeat, responding to cheers from some members of the media every now and then during the press conference. Sitting alongside her were her diving counterparts Bryan Nickson Lomas and Traisy Vivian Tukiet.
On a serious note later, Pandelela said that she would channel most of the reward money into her savings.
As for the remainder, she would buy something special for her family and friends.
When probed on the gifts, she made a witty remark: “If I tell you now, it won’t be special anymore.”
Nonetheless, she said she and her parents preferred to oversee the management of all the reward money personally.
As a token of the Government’s appreciation, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak presented the national champion with RM300,000, comprising RM100,000 under the National Sports Council (NSC) reward scheme and RM200,000 worth of Amanah Saham Wawasan shares.
He also presented her a full government scholarship from Yayasan Cemerlang to enable the athlete to pursue a degree of her choice at Universiti Tun Razak.
Pandelela also received RM100,000 from The Star Media Group, among others.
Commenting on the grand welcome at the airport, she described it as fantastic and that she felt very happy to finally come back to her homeland with the medal.
“No, I’m not nervous. It feels normal for me maybe because I’m used to this (reception) but it’s fantastic,” she said.
Outside, fans were over the moon being able to catch Pandelela in person.
One in particular was Jamer Jikel who told the press eagerly that this was a historic moment for the people of Sarawak particularly, the Bidayuhs.
“We never know if we are going to walk this path again. If there’s more to come, then it’s great but for now, we will celebrate Pandelela’s achievement with much pride and glory.
“She is a blessing from God,” he said.
Jamer was also enthusiastic to have gotten Pandelela’s autograph and said he would be laminating and framing the poster and also a fan card with the Olympian’s face on it.