Pandelela given modest but joyous reception
SEPANG : Hundreds of people welcomed Olympic bronze medallist Pandelela Rinong Pamg who arrived home today, but it was the sight of the diving star’s parents in the crowd that carved a huge smile on her face.
Her proud parents, Pamg Joheng dan Hartini Lamim, had been specially flown from Kuching by national carrier Malaysia Airlines (MAS) to greet the 19-year-old who created history by being the first Malaysian woman athlete to win an Olympic medal. Despite her achievement, Pandelela appeared not to let it go to her head when she said: “Although I’ve won a medal at the Olympics, I will forever keep a low profile.”
More than 200 sports fans and students of the Bukit Jalil Sports School were at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), here, to welcome home the diving queen who arrived at about 7.50am on flight MH003 from London using MAS’ latest aircraft, the A380. “I thank all who are present here today. I’m touched by the warm reception. I also wish to thank all Malaysians including my family for the support,” said Pandelela.
Sports Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek was also at KLIA to welcome Pandelela who arrived on the flight together with Malaysia’s chef de mission to the London Olympics Tun Ahmad Sarji Abdul Hamid, director-general of the National Sports Council (NSC) Datuk Seri Zolkples Embong and the national aquatic squad.
On the flight, the MAS crew took the opportunity to take photographs with Pandelela who showed off her bronze medal. Malaysia Airlines in a statement said in appreciation of her excellent achievement, Pandelela’s seat was upgraded to the Business Class to allow her to enjoy the national carrier’s inflight hospitality.
Pandelela said her participation in the London Olympics gave her the wonderful opportunity to compete against the world’s best divers. She thanked the Olympic Council of Malaysia, National Sports Institute and the NSC for helping her prepare for the Olympics. Pandelela said she would be resting for two weeks and also use the break to be with her family.
At the London Olympics which ended last Sunday, the Bidayuh lass collected 359.20 points, behind China’s Chen Ruolin who managed to defend her title with 422.30 points while the silver medal went to Australia’s Brittany Broben who garnered 366.50 points.
Ahmad Shabery said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak was scheduled to meet Pandelela this Friday after returning from the 4th Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Extraordinary Summit in Mecca. – BERNAMA