KUCHING: News of divers Pandelela Rinong and Cheong Jun Hoong’s silver medal victory in the Rio Olympic Games early today brought cheer to Malaysians, particularly the Bidayuh in the Bau district of Sarawak.
The pair won Malaysia’s first medal in the Rio Olympics after finishing second in the women’s synchronised 10m platform event.
Tasik Biru assemblyman Henry Harry Jinep, in congratulating Pandelela and Jun Hong, told Bernama that his offer of a RM50,000 reward for a gold medal victory by Pandelela still stood.
Pandelela has one more event in the games – her favourite 10m individual platform.
Dayak Bidayuh National Association (DBNA) president Ik Pahon said the association would pursue whatever reward was deemed fit as recognition of Pandelela’s success at the Rio Olympics.
Pahon said he was anxiously looking forward to the Bidayuh lass from Kampung Jugan, Bau, to deliver the gold medal in the 10m individual platform event.
Pandelela’s partner Jun Hoong is from Perak.
He said the community was proud of Pandelela and was confident that a few more youths would follow in her footsteps, not necessarily in diving but in other sports as well.
“Pandelela has always been a role model, not only for Bidayuh youths but also all youths in the state,” said Pahon, who is also the permanent secretary to the Sarawak Tourism Ministry.
“We pray and wish her success in her 10m individual platform event,” he added.
Jake Odium, 53, from Bau said being a Malaysian and a Bidayuh from the same district as Pandelela’s made him “very proud of her achievement”.
“It is a first for Malaysian women and, furthermore, she is a Sarawakian and a Bidayuh, which makes our community more proud,” said Jake.