WOMEN AND SPORTS AWARDS: Pandelela's parents honoured
UNEXPECTED: Mum, dad thrilled to receive recognition for encouraging daughter
THIS time it was Olympic bronze medallist Pandelela Rinong's turn to applaud her parents after they were duly honoured at the Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) Women and Sports Awards ceremony yesterday.
Having rode the nationwide euphoria surrounding their 19-year-old daughter's historic Olympic medal feat in diving, Pamg Joheng and Hartini Lamim never expected to be rewarded themselves.
"I never imagined that there was such an award, so I'm quite honoured to receive this recognition," said Pamg, 46, a farmer.
Hartini said they had always backed their daughter's sporting pursuits and despite recent highlight about her academics future with several offers from universities, both parents will continue to do so.
"She has shown that she is good at her sport, so we want her to continue with that, while pursuing her studies," said Hartini, 44.
Pandelela's rise to stardom has also seen her stock rise among male followers, with the diver receiving thousands of pledges of love and affection for her on social media sites, particularly facebook. But Hartini isn't about to encourage that.
"He's not ready to become a grandfather," she said with a laugh, gesturing towards her husband. "But I'm sure Pandelela is aware and in control of that."
Pandelela, in feeling honoured for the recognition given to her parents, only wished to thank her male followers.
"I would only like to thank them for all their love for me," she said.
"As for my parents, I would like to thank the OCM for recognising their part in my career."
Pandelela is due to accept an offer to attend a local university today, but said she will only consider starting her classes next year.
"I've got a packed schedule this year. There's a lot to be settled and I've still got the Asian Championships to focus on, so I think starting next year would be best," she said.
Malaysian Netball Association (MNA) president Datuk Suraya Yaccob was the recipient of the top honour on the day, the OCM Women and Sport Award, albeit slightly overshadowed by the majority of attendees' affection for Pandelela and her family.
Suraya's award was based on her relentless contribution towards the development of the sport, particularly in the midst of religious and cultural challenges in Kedah, where she heads the state association.
Having served as MNA president since 2006, Suraya is also responsible for success in promoting the sport at grassroots level both in Malaysia and abroad.
Former national squash player Sharon Wee's selfless contribution as a volunteer in the development of the sport at the grassroots level earned her the Grassroots Development Award.
Veteran Development Award winner Professor S. Vijayaletchumi's lifelong devotion to athletics and her continued dedication to it earned herself due recognition.