21 August 2012
| last updated at 07:38PM
Pandalela honoured with state award
KUCHING: Olympics bronze medallist Pandalela Rinong Pamg made, yet another memorable splash when she was honoured with a state award on her accomplishment, after touching down to a grand homecoming at the Kuching International Airport here today.
The 19-year-old, who was accompanied by her parents and two other Sarawak Olympians, Bryan Nickson Lomas and Traisy Vivien Tukiet, became the first local athlete to be bestowed with the Sarawak Johan Kenyalang (JBK) award.
She received the award from Yang di-Pertua Negeri Sarawak Tun Abang Muhammad Salahuddin Abang Barieng in an investiture ceremony at the Astana Negeri, Petra Jaya here.
As the country's first woman Olimpic medalist, the state government has also announced a special incentive in the form of a full scholarship to pursue a four-year education in Australia.
Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud said, based on the scholarship, the dive queen was given a choice to either focus on coaching in swimming or tertiary studies.
He said the welfare of her family, who hailed from Kampung Jugan in Bau near here, was also being taken care of, especially by the federal government.
In thanking the Sarawak Government for honouring her, Pandelela said her first priority at the moment was to focus on her training programme.
However, she said, she might consider taking up the scholarship since she would not be competing in any game until next year.
She expressed heartfelt thanks to the state government for bestowing the honour to her, which left her family and the Bidayuh community beaming with pride.
Pandelela disclosed that she was more nervous during the ceremony than when diving, a sport which won her a bronze medal in the women's 10m platform at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.
Earlier, she had arrived at the Astana Negeri in a Mini Cooper convertible, accompanied by a convoy of bikers and other state ministers from the airport, taking a tour of the city, including the Kuching Waterfront, where the public caught a glimpse of them.
Upon arrival at the airport, she was greeted by about 1,000 fans and state dignitaries, including Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Alfred Jabu Numpang, Social Development Minister Tan Sri William Mawan and Dayak Bidayuh National Association president Ik Pahon Joyik.
Meanwhile, Infrastructure Development and Communications Minister Datuk Seri Michael Manyin said Pandalela was not only the pride of her community but also of the state and nation, as she served as an icon to inspire youths to scale greater heights.
Having two children, including Pandalela's brother Pardika Indoma, who is also a national diver, the Olympic diving darling's father, Pamg Joheng, said he was proud of her achievement. -- BERNAMA
Country's dive queen Pandelela Rinong being bestowed with the Johan Bintang Kenyalang (JBK) state award by Yang Di Pertua Negeri Sarawak, Tun Abang Muhammad Sallahuddin witnessed by Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud (sitted) at the Astana Sarawak, Petra Jaya. -- Pix courtesy of Information Department