BP2017

Pandelela Rinong has not won any gold medals at the Olympics and the FINA World Championships yet, still she is a national hero in Malaysia.

The 24-year-old diver, who loves K-pop and Japanese cartoons, is a triple World bronze medallist, and her main goal is to grab a gold medal at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. She is perceived as one of the favourites for the 17th FINA World Championships which is about to begin in Budapest.

Malaysia’s native Pandelela Rinong was first noticed by a swimming coach while she was on a visit to her primary school to look for potential swimmers to join her training programme. She was later given the chance to learn diving as she was not afraid of heights and was brave enough to jump from a 3m board.

Her first major international success was winning the gold medal with her partner Cheong Jun Hoong in the 10m synchro event at the 2009 Southeast Asian Games.

Two years later she repeated it with Leong Mun Yee, adding the gold medal of the 10m platform event to her tally. She took part in the FINA World Championships in 2009 for the first time, and she claimed the bronze medal in the 10m synchro, winning Malaysia’s first ever medal at the World Championships.

Rinong with partner Leong Mun Yee in Barcelona 2013

At age 15, she became the youngest Malaysian female diver to qualify for a World Championship final, finishing fifth in the end in the 10m platform.

She became Malaysia's first female flag bearer at the Opening Ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics where she competed in the individual 10 m platform and the synchro 10m platform event with her partner Leong Mun Yee. Again she became the first Malaysian female athlete to win an Olympics medal by claiming bronze with Yee.

Rinong took bronze in London 2012, behind China (gold) and Australia (silver)

She continued to achieve some more great results in the following years: she finished second at the 2013 FINA World Championships in the 10m synchro in Kazan, Russia.

In 2015, she made history by becaming the first Malaysian to finish on the podium in an individual event at the World Championships. She clinched a bronze medal in the individual 10m platform.

At the 2016 Olympics Rinong and Cheong Jun Hoong won silver, finishing second behind Chinese super stars Chen Ruolin and Liu Huixia. In honour of her achievement in Rio, the Sarawak Aquatic Centre in Petra Jaya was officially named Pandelela Rinong Aquatic Centre.

Her motto is pretty straightforward "Never give up until the end". T

he final of the women’s 10m synchro will be held on July 16, while the final of the women’s 10m platform event will take place on July 19 in the Duna Arena.