KUALA LUMPUR: This has been a bittersweet year for diving queen Pandelela Rinong.
Although she was carrying a knee injury, Pandelela was still able to stand on the podium several times.
She won a silver medal in the individual 10m platform at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games and nicked a bronze in the synchronised 10m platform with Leong Mun Yee at the Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea.
She also won two silver medals with two different partners – Mun Yee and Cheong Jun Heong – in two World Series in Dubai and Malaysia.
“I’m truly grateful ... and proud of myself this year. I have endured situations that seemed impossible to overcome after suffering a knee injury (in June), but I always gave my best,” said Pandelela.
“All these obstacles ... over the past months ... have taught me to be mentally stronger. I have learned to use my will power to overcome pain and not give up.
“It has been bittersweet for me. I wish it could have been better ... but God has his own plans. Every competition holds a special meaning for me and I cherish them. It is important for one to enjoy both the good and the bad.”
Looking back, Pandelela is happy that many of her team-mates rose to the occasion this year.
All the other women divers – Mun Yee, Jun Heong, Nur Dhabitah Sabri and Wendy Ng – showed marked improvement and maturity in their dives and even managed a few podium finishes.
In the men’s division, youngster Ooi Tze Liang stole the show this year when he nailed a gold medal in the 3m springboard individual at the Glasgow Games.
“They are all improving ... thanks to my coach Yang Zhuliang’s guidance. He is always motivating us and he has a knack for grooming young talents,” said Pandelela.
“The progress made by my team-mates has motivated me to continue training harder and to raise the bar higher.”
Pandelela’s main mission next year is to qualify for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games.
“I need to move forward. My goal is to keep my walk close with God and stay positive and confident in learning newer dives.
“My aim is to compete in the World Championships in Kazan (Russia, in July) and seal my second Olympic Games ticket,” said Pandelela.
by Rajes Paul - The Star