Pandelela Rinong: Dream Big
"If I want to achieve something in life, I know I must try my very best to earn it because success will come to those who don’t give up"
On Tuesday everyone in Malaysia celebrated when divers Cheong Jun Hoong and Pandelela Rinong won Malaysia’s first medal at the Rio Olympic Games. The local social media scene exploded and everyone congratulated the duo.
As a silver medallist, Pandelela Rinong will be awarded her share of the RM300,000 and a RM3,000 pension for life. I may not be blood, but I can relate to the same sense of success her parents must feel, seeing her achievements.
Pandelala comes from a small, rural village in the district of Bau in Kuching, Sarawak. She grew up with 3 other siblings and they did not have a lot of money. However, her parents understood and valued education and wanted their children to have a better living.
When she was 5, her father chose to uproot the whole family for the sake of education and moved them to Kuching city. There, he took on a job as a construction worker to support the family. Her mom stayed at home to look after all of them.
Life couldn’t have been easy coming from a small village and into the city. As a little girl, she understood things do not come easy; it would take dreaming big and hard work. That alone says a lot about her upbringing and her character, “If I want to achieve something in life, I know I must try my very best to earn it because success will come to those who don’t give up.”
When they came scouting for new talents for aquatic sports under the Sarawak State Sports Council programme, Pandalela’s hand, was the only one raised up in her class. That was the turning point for her. She was only 8 then. Look how far she’s come.
In an exclusive interview with Malaysia Tatler, she shared about her daily routine in China where she trains daily, “I wake up at 7.30am, have my breakfast and start training at 8.30am until 12pm. I take a short nap after lunch and resume my training from 3pm to 6.30pm. After dinner, I usually spend the rest of the evening finishing up university assignments, packing my training bag and doing laundry. I hit the sack at 11pm sharp!”
Pandelela hopes to continue diving for as long as she is able and already have plans on what she would do when she finally has to give it all up. “Therefore, I’m currently taking up a Sports Science degree at University of Malaya, majoring in Sports Management. I am looking forward to contributing something back to the community when my diving career ends.”
Pandelela footed the bill for her parents’ and brother’s flight to Rio to watch her compete. Nothing like having family with you and rooting for you. She was very excited because it is the first time her parents get to watch her compete on in another country.
Her father told NST when met at Kuching International Airport, “I hope our presence in Brazil will motivate and boost Nong’s fighting spirit during the individual competition this week. “For the past week, throughout her participation in the Olympics, we had been sending her our well-wishes and messages of motivation via WhatsApp. “We reminded her not to give up and to spare no effort in every tournament.”
He has faith in his daughter’s ability and knows how hard she has been working prior to the Olympic Games. Regardless of the outcome, he is proud of her and what she has become. They cannot wait to reunite with her again.