MEDAL HOPE: Pandelela, Mun Yee offer genuine chance
SUCCESS has had a positive effect on diver Pandelela Rinong.
The 19-year-old, together with Leong Mun Yee, offer Malaysia its first real chance of a London Olympics medal in the 10m platform synchro today and going by the Sarawakian's confident attitude, there is a genuine chance that this will be realised at the Aquatic Centre.
Gone is the shy student of the 2010 New Delhi Commonwealth Games who could hardly answer questions following her 10m platform triumph, the first ever for Malaysia.
Pandelela has changed into a confident young woman who knows that she is an athlete who has trained hard and deserves to be where she is.
Her efforts have not only been rewarded with success at the highest levels but also the honour of being Malaysia's first ever woman flag-bearer at the Olympics, which she fulfilled with pride at Friday's opening ceremony.
Her ability to analyse her own performance has also improved, as she showed after finishing last in the 3m springboard final with Cheong Jun Hoong on Sunday.
Though Pandelela knew they could have done better, she didn't fret about what could have been but is already looking forward to today's event.
"We have not really competed as a pair and the 3m springboard was never in our plans. What the event did is give me the competition feeling and this was crucial as I have now killed whatever nerves there were ahead of the 10m platform," said Pandelela.
Her partner today is the veteran Mun Yee, appearing in her fourth and final Olympics, and Pandelela knows she will have a partner who is equally motivated to win a medal for Malaysia.
"Mun Yee and I know each other very well and we have competed together for a long time now," said Pandelela.
Among their achievements was a bronze in the 10m platform synchro in the 2009 World Championships and the pair continued to improve after that.
There can be no mistakes today as the world's top eight pairs will be competing and one error, and it could all be over, as was the case in the 3m springboard on Sunday.
Pandelela, however, was confident history would not repeat itself.
"We have been working on our routines for a long time and have perfected them. Now it is all about the competition and all I can promise is that we will give it our best attempt."
Gold seems out of reach as China's Chen Ruolin-Wang Hao look to be in a class of their own. Ruolin was a double gold medallist in the platform events in the Beijing Games four years ago, partnering Wang Xin in the synchro but for Malaysia, silver or bronze will do and Pandelela-Mun Yee have the ability and confidence to deliver.