Sunday March 3, 2013
Pandelela stays focused on training in Guangzhou on her birthday
By LIM TEIK HUAT
PETALING JAYA: It was business as usual for diver Pandelela Rinong yesterday, despite it being the day she turned 20.
The London Olympic bronze medallist was confined to the state diving centre in Guangzhou along with the rest of her team-mates for training although it was a Saturday.
“Head coach Yang Zhuliang does not simply grant leave ... even back home. It’s a Saturday but we have two training sessions as we’re in China and he wants to make sure we’re tired by the time we finish.
“Today’s my birthday ... but there’s nothing special.
“I only wish that I can give the best performance this year in sports and in my studies as well,” said Pandelela, who enrolled for a Sports Science degree course shortly after the London Olympics.
But that didn’t stop Pandelela, who is the country’s first female Olympic medallist after taking the bronze in the 10m platform last August, from marking her birthday occasion the night before.
Her team-mates presented her with gifts and she especially cherishes the tiramisu chocolate cake given by her university course-mate Wendy Ng.
The divers spent three weeks in centralised training in Dali before switching camp to Guangzhou last week. They’re expected to return home later this month. Pandelela will return to competition for the first time since last year’s London Olympics at the six-leg World Series beginning in Beijing on March 15-17.
It’ll be her first competition after recovering from a right ankle injury which kept her out of last year’s Asian Championships and Asean University Games.
“After the Olympics, I made sure I had a good break from the sport but got injured upon returning to training. But now I’m back into it and looking forward to the season.
“The main thing for me is to tidy up everything I’ve got and hit the water with no splash. That’s the difference between winning a medal and finishing with nothing in major competitions,” she said.
After Beijing, this will be followed by Dubai (March 21-23), Edinburgh (April 19-21), Moscow (April 26-28), Guadalajara (May 17-19) and Mexico City (May 24-26).
Pandelela will also be preparing for the World University Games in Kazan in July 6-17 and the World Championships in Barcelona from July 19-Aug 4.