KUCHING: DIVER Pandelela Rinong Pamg was conferred the Johan Bintang Kenyalang award yesterday.
Yang di-Pertua Negeri Tun Abang Muhammad Sallehuddin conferred the award on her at Astana Negeri.
The Olympic bronze medallist winner looked tired when she arrived at Kuching International Airport at noon.
She was accompanied by her parents, Pamg Joheng and Hartini Lamim, and Olympic divers Bryan Nickson Lomas and Traisy Vivien Tukiet.
The three were given a rock-star welcome as they were paraded in a Mini Cooper and two BMW convertibles across town.
Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud announced after the awards ceremony that the state was awarding her a full scholarship for a four-year programme in Australia in any field and to continue diving as an elective.
"Sarawakians can be proud of Pandelela as she has made our country known in the sport. I hope this award will encourage Sarawakians to do their best and go as far as they can, as doing it for the country also means doing it for the glory of their families."
After the ceremony, the three were treated to a lunch with state athletes at the Civic Centre.
At the function, Social Development Minister Tan Sri William Mawan Ikom presented RM60,000 to Pandelela and RM15,000 each to Bryan and Traisy.
Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Alfred Jabu, who is also chairman of the Dayak Cultural Foundation, awarded Pandelela RM30,000 and RM10,000 each to the other two.
Jabu said the three had proved that anyone could achieve his goal.
"These three are among the finest athletes in Malaysia, who come from rural Sarawak and whose parents are farmers.
"They have shown that they can do it. I hope that others will follow their footsteps and make the country proud."