PETALING JAYA, Aug 11 — Pamg Joheng burst into tears when he saw his daughter Pandelela Rinong on the podium last night to receive her silver medal during the Rio Olympics.
The 49-year-old contractor said he always knew Pandelela and Cheong Jun Hoong — her team mate in the synchronised diving event — would not return empty-handed, but to see them actually win was joy which was immeasurable.
“When the judges announced they won the silver, I could not help it, I just cried. It was tears of joy. It was unbelievable...I was just so happy she had won,” he said when contacted in Kuching.
“It is definitely an improvement from the previous win, and we are very pleased. Everyone knew about it by the morning and everyone was talking about it. I am very proud of her.”
Pandelela is the second of four siblings.
Pamg, who stayed up to watch the event which begun at 3.30am, said the win had renewed his confidence in his daughter’s ability as a professional athlete.
“I really want her to get that gold ... I know she will do her best to make us all proud, to win one for the country and get into the history books,” he said.
“She is determined, professional and capable. She has a good chance at it.”
Pamg said the rest of the family would be joining Pandelela in Rio de Janeiro next week.
Pandelela and Jun Hoong created history when they won a silver medal in the women’s 10m platform synchronised event yesterday.
It was Malaysia’s first-ever silver medal in diving in the Olympics and the second medal in diving, coming four years after Pandelela won a bronze in the 10m platform during the 2012 Games in London.
Pandelela’s older brother, Pardika Indoma, who works in Kuala Lumpur, said he had made time despite his busy schedule to stay up and watch his sister compete.
“Of course, I had to watch and it is a good thing I did. It was not surprising as I know she trains very hard and left for Rio with a determination to outdo her previous performance,” he said.
Pardika said his sister had told him while she was happy at having bagged the silver, she could not celebrate yet.
“She told me she cannot relax yet as she still has individual events ahead of her. She said she will fight with everything she has to get another medal and I believe she will.”
Jaom Regid, the village head of Kampung Jugan where Pandelela and her family are from, said the news had delighted the villagers.
“We are excited as the expectation is for her to outperform her last medal count in 2012. We are already planning to have a big celebration for her,” he said.
Jaom wished her luck in the women’s 10m platform diving on Aug 18.
“We hope she will bring home the gold and we wish her the best. She is not only the pride of the Bidayuh community but of all Malaysians,” he said.
Kampung Jugan is more than 40km from Kuching.