Diving queen Pandelela hails rising star Lee Yiat Qing

Diving queen Datuk Pandelela Rinong Pamg is gearing up for her fifth Olympics, but is still interested in the SEA Games.

That is why the two-time Olympic medallist was delighted to see 15-year-old Lee Yiat Qing (main image) clinch gold in the women’s 10m platform event on May 10.

The Cambodia SEA Games was Lee’s first international tournament, making her victory more remarkable.

Lee’s medal was also the third gold for Malaysia in diving, with Muhammad Syafiq Puteh and Kimberly Bong winning the men’s and women’s 3m springboard titles.

Enrique Maccartney Harold and Bertrand Rhodict Lises made it a clean sweep of gold medals when they finished first and second in the men’s 10m platform earlier today.

Pandelela, a keen supporter of her juniors, said she was delighted to see Malaysia perform up to expectations in Cambodia.

Things have not gone too smoothly for the Malaysian contingent, with the men’s and women’s indoor hockey teams failing to win gold, while cricket suffered a shock loss to the host nation in the final.

The men’s and women’s football teams did not get out of the group stages, but more shockingly, the women’s badminton team suffered an embarrassing 3-0 defeat to the Philippines.

But the divers at the Olympic Stadium Pool in Phnom Penh restored some pride for the nation.

“I am very happy for her (Yiat Qing). She is on the right track as she is only 15,” said Pandelela, who won nine SEA Games gold medals in her career.

“It was awesome to see her dive with composure to win the gold. Yiat Qing surprised everyone, myself included.

“It was her first SEA Games, and she performed brilliantly.”

The Sarawakian said Lee deserves the attention she is getting with the win, as it was not easy for her to compete in the 10m platform.

Pandelela revealed Lee had struggled with a back injury before coming back stronger.

“Credit should also go to the coaches who worked hard in the past few months to get her ready for the platform event,” added the 30-year-old diver.

Pandelela has just returned from Montreal, Canada, where she finished ninth in the 10m platform at the World Cup.

It was her first international event of the year, and the last before the World Championships in Fukuoka, Japan, from July 14-30.

“It is a good feeling to compete internationally again,” said Pandelela, a member of the country’s Road to Gold programme.

“It was my first and last exposure before the World Championships.”

Main image: Malaysia Swimming