Thursday July 12, 2012
Diver Pandelela takes flag handing ceremony seriously
PUTRAJAYA: As far as diver Pandelela Rinong is concerned, the flag handing over ceremony by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak is more than just for show.
In fact, the 19-year-old Sarawakian said she took a few days off from her two-month high altitude training stint in Dali, China, just to be with the contingent for this symbolic event.
She said it was also to show her appreciation and gratitude for being given the role as Malaysia’s flag bearer at the opening ceremony of the London Olympics on July 27.
“I took time off from training just to be here for this special event. It means a lot to me and the support shown by the Prime Minister and his Cabinet is so meaningful,” said Pandelela.
The national diving team, comprising eight Olympic-bound divers and reserve Ooi Tze Liang, left for China in May for a two-month high altitude training stint in Dali.
Diving forms the biggest group for the Malaysian Olympic contingent in London this time.
Pandelela, who is one of the medal prospects, has pledged not to let the nation down at the London Olympics.
“Expectations are high on me to win a medal and all I can say is that I have never let my country down in any competition. I always give my best,” said Pandelela, who thanked the Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) and the National Sports Council (NSC) for picking her to be the flag bearer at the opening ceremony.
Asked if she was surprised to have been picked over shuttler Lee Chong Wei, she said: “It does not matter who leads the team at the opening ceremony.
“Our goal is the same ... to win honours for the nation.”
Pandelela will compete in three events at the Olympics – 3m springboard synchro, 10m platform individual and synchro.