London (The Star/ANN) - Pandelela Rinong has created Malaysian diving history. The 19-year-old from Sarawak won a bronze medal in the women's 10m individual platform event at the Aquatics Centre early today.
It was Malaysia's first-ever Olympics medal in a sport other than badminton, besides making Pandelela the first Malaysian woman to win an Olympics medal.
She garnered a total of 359.20 points to finish behind China's Chen Ruolin, who won the gold on 422.30 points while Brittany Broben from Australia won the silver on 366.50 points.
Although diving had promised a medal in London, not many had given the team a chance, especially since they had failed in their last six events.
But Pandelela delivered. Her feat also helped the national contingent match Malaysia's best placing in the Olympics - the silver and bronze won at the Atlanta Games in 1996.
Then, the badminton doubles pairing of Cheah Soon Kit and Yap Kim Hock won the silver while Rashid Sidek won the bronze in the men's singles.
Pandelela said she hoped her achievement in London 2012 would inspire others to take up diving as a competitive event.
"I am so happy with winning this medal. It is something that I had only dreamt off and now diving can look at it as a turning point.
"I feel that a huge burden has been lifted off my shoulders and we can now look forward to better times," she said.
Pandelela started off the final poorly, getting only 58.50 points for her first dive to be placed in 10th spot.
Up to the third dive, she was still in 10th place but her final two dives were well-received by the judges and netted 81.60 and 76.80 points respectively.
"After the first dive, I told myself not to be worried and to stay calm. At that point I was not thinking of a medal at all. I just wanted to do my best.
"I am glad that my routines worked and some of the others registered slightly lower points," she said.