LONDON, Aug 10 — Diver Pandelela Rinong Pamg made national history today by winning an Olympic bronze medal in the women’s diving 10m event, the country’s first non-badminton medal, and becoming the first Malaysian woman to win an Olympic medal.
Sarawak-born Pandelela took the bronze with a score of 359.2 points, only 7.3 points behind silver medallist Brittany Broben from Australia. China’s Chen Roulin won the event with a stunning 422.3 points. Chen was in a league of her own from the beginning, leaving her nearest competitor by over 40 points midway through.
While never threatening Chen’s lead, the other divers were neck-and-neck with a nail-biting final round tally determining the silver-and-bronze. Pandela’s medal chances seemed dim after mistakes in her first and third dives, but she made up for them with consistent scores in her other attempts.
Nineteen-year-old Pandelela joined the national diving team at 14, going on to rack up impressive achievements including becoming the first Malaysian to win a gold in diving at the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi (10m platform).
She previously has won silvers (3-metre springboard and 10-metre springboard events) in the 2010 Youth Olympics held in Singapore. She is also this year’s National Sportswoman of the Year and the Malaysia’s first woman flagbearer at the Olympics this year.
Pandelela’s bronze has brought the final Malaysian medal tally for the 2012 to two, adding to the sole silver from Datuk Lee Chong Wei in the men’s badminton singles.
This year, Malaysia fielded 30 athletes in 9 sports: archery, athletics, badminton, cycling, diving, fencing, sailing, shooting and swimming.