Hire more trainers, have more facilities
REPORTS: S. RAMAGURU PIX: AZMAN GHANI
PANDELELA Rinong firmly believes that her historic bronze medal winning performance in London is just the start of more to come.
But there are a few things the 19-year-old diving star would like to see happen in order for the sport to thrive.
First of all, she has asked for the National Sports Council (NSC) to keep Chinese coach Yang Zhuliang.
She would also like to see more coaches hired so that divers can get personal attention rather than having one coach for 10 athletes.
“I would like to thank Zhuliang for the hard work he has put into grooming me and the effort made to ensure that we have a complete programme to follow,” she said yesterday.
“But in my recent chats with him the coach has said that he would like to go back to Australia. I hope NSC can talk him out of it.
“Having more quality coaches will only help us achieve better results.”
Pandelela is Malaysia’s first woman athlete to win a medal at the Olympics and the first from a sport other than badminton.
She added that having more top class facilities was just as important as being able to compete regularly in top level competitions.
“Just look at China and you see why they are so successful. They have lots of talented divers and the facilities to train them,” said Pandelela.
“I want my medal winning effort to inspire others to take up diving. There just isn’t enough divers coming through the ranks. We need more youngsters taking up the sport.
“But coaching, facilities and competitions are important if we want them to become winners.”
Pandelela expressed her gratitute to the NSC and the government as well as the people who have helped her achieve her goal.
Her only regret is that her mother, who was at the Games earlier, had to leave just as she was taking part in the semi-finals. She had come under a sponsored trip which ended before the 10m platform final.
“I couldn’t even call her with the news as she was on the flight home.
“It would have been great if she could have stayed just one more day to see me win the medal,” said Pandelela.
For now, Pandelela plans to take a well-deserved break before resuming training.
She also has one more wish – to take a photograph with badminton superstar Lee Chong Wei, who won a silver medal here.
“I want to congratulate him for winning the silver and take a picture with him,” she laughed.