Abd Karim: Sarawak open to possibility of Pandelela becoming state diving coach

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Abdul Karim (seated centre) speaks during the press conference.

KUCHING (Feb 8): Sarawak is open to the possibility of national diving queen Dato Pandelela Rinong serving as the state’s diving coach in the future, says Minister of Youth, Sports, and Entrepreneur Development, Dato Sri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah.

Speaking at a press conference after a meeting of the Sarawak United National Youth Organisation (Saberkas) Supreme Committee, Abdul Karim expressed the sentiment that Pandelela’s expertise would be warmly welcomed, whether in coaching or any other capacity she chooses to contribute.

“Pandelela’s potential role as a diving coach for the state or country would be highly valued, given her extensive experience and knowledge,” he said.

Abdul Karim said while Pandelela may not have qualified for the next edition of the Olympics, it doesn’t mark the end of her illustrious career as he expressed confidence in her ability to continue contributing to Malaysian diving, possibly at different levels.

“Pandelela has already made significant contributions to Malaysian diving, winning bronze and silver medals at previous Olympics. Even beyond competing in the Olympics, she can still play a pivotal role as a mentor or guide for future diving athletes,” he said.

Reflecting on Pandelela’s recent performance at the World Aquatic Championships in Doha, Qatar, where she narrowly missed securing a spot for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, Abdul Karim acknowledged her dedication and pride in representing Malaysia on the international stage.

Despite her and her partner, Nur Dhabitah Sabri, falling short of qualifying for the Olympics, Abdul Karim praised their commitment and contributions to Malaysian sports.

“Pandelela’s journey in sports has been remarkable, spanning over 15 years. Although she aimed for Paris 2024 to be her final Olympics, her achievements throughout her career have brought honor to our country and state,” he said.

Pandelela and Nur Dhabitah finished in 12th position in the 10-meter synchronized platform event at the World Aquatic Championships, missing the top-four finish required to secure a ticket to the Paris Olympics. Additionally, Pandelela missed out on qualifying for the 10-meter individual platform event.