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NST Online: Sports


Sportcheck / 100PLUS-SAM Awards: Pandelela surprise winner

Posted: 06 Mar 2011 04:08 PM PST


Pandelela Rinong with her trophy and cheque after she was adjudged the Best Athlete at the 2010 100PLUS-SAM Awards   yesterday. — Picture by  Intan Nur Elliana  Intan Elliana

Pandelela Rinong with her trophy and cheque after she was adjudged the Best Athlete at the 2010 100PLUS-SAM Awards yesterday. — Picture by Intan Nur Elliana Intan Elliana

NATIONAL diver Pandelela Rinong received a belated birthday present when she was voted Best Athlete at the 2010 100PLUS-SAM Awards in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

The Sarawakian, who turned 18 on Wednesday, is the first diver to win the prestigious award which comes with a cash prize of RM10,000 and a trophy.

Lee Chong Wei, the badminton World No 1, was among those beaten by Pandelela to the top award but he did not go home empty-handed as he took the Special Award.


The national football team, victorious at the recent AFF Suzuki Cup, were also honoured after being presented with the Outdo Yourself Award while wushu exponent Yeap Wai Kin was anointed as the most promising athlete.

Pandelela made history by clinching Malaysia's first ever diving gold medal at the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi last year when she defeated Olympic medal winners from Australia and Britain to win the 10m platform event.

She also won the silver medal with Leong Mun Yee in the synchronised 10m platform final.


Pandelela was the toast of the nation when she bagged two silver medals in the individual 3m springboard and 10m platform disciplines at the Youth Olympic Games in Singapore in July last year.

Her two silver medals made her the first Malaysian female to mount the podium at a multi-Games meet organised by the International Olympic Council.

She also marked her Asian Games debut with one silver in the synchronised 10m platform and one bronze medal in the individual discipline.


A stunned Pandelela said: "I can't believe it. I honestly didn't expect to win the award

as I was up against some great champions.

"This is a big honour for me and I hope to build on this success. My main goal is to do well at the World Championships in Shanghai in July as it is an Olympic qualifying event.

"The finalists (top 12) will earn a place in the London Olympics next year and that is my initial goal apart from trying to get a medal," said Pandelela.

Besides Chong Wei, Pandelela beat out five-time world squash champion Nicol David, cyclist Azizul Hasni Awang and shooter Nur Suryani to emerge as the best athlete.

WINNERS -- Best Athlete: Pandelela Rinong (diving); Most Promising Athlete: Yeap Wai Kin (wushu); Special Award from National Sports Association: Lee Chong Wei (badminton); Outdo Yourself Award: National football team (AFF Cup champions).

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Tennis / BMW Malaysian Open: Winning reunion

Posted: 06 Mar 2011 04:05 PM PST


 Galina Voskoboeva (left) and  Dinara Safina rejoicing after beating Jessica Moore-Noppawan Lertcheewakarn 7-5, 2-6, 10-5 in the final of the BMW Malaysian Open yesterday. —   Picture by Yazit Razali

Galina Voskoboeva (left) and Dinara Safina rejoicing after beating Jessica Moore-Noppawan Lertcheewakarn 7-5, 2-6, 10-5 in the final of the BMW Malaysian Open yesterday. — Picture by Yazit Razali

RUSSIA'S Dinara Safina and Kazakhstan's Galina Voskoboeva couldn't have asked for a better start when they won their maiden doubles title in their very first WTA Tour tournament as a pair in the BMW Malaysian Open at the Bukit Kiara Equestrian & Country Resort yesterday.

Dinara and Galina were doubles partners about 10 years ago in the junior circuit before they went their separate ways.

But their decision to renew their partnership in Kuala Lumpur paid dividends when they edged Australia's Jessica Moore and Thailand's Noppawan Lertcheewakarn 7-5, 2-6, 10-5 to lift the title.


"We did everything better than them today (yesterday). The victory is a big motivation as we are on a comeback trail from injuries," said Dinara, the former World No 1.

"I am pretty much happy with the title as I've not played doubles for a long time. I'm pushing harder on court now under a new coach (Davide Sanguinetti) and it has put a smile back on my face."

Dinara heads for Indian Wells while Galina will continue her quest to improve her singles world rankings by participating in smaller tournaments. They will not play as a pair anytime soon.


Jessica-Noppawan started on a promising note by breaking their opponents' serve in the third game to take a 2-1 lead in the first set.

But the more experienced Dinara-Galina combined well by displaying breathtaking winners to break three times to win 7-5.

In the second set, Jessica-Noppawan raced to a 3-0 lead before winning the set to level proceedings.


But the champions were near unstoppable in the super tie-break when they hit straight winners for a healthy 5-0 lead before Jessica-Noppawan broke twice to reduce the deficit.

The Thai-Australian pair surged a late fightback with several forehand winners but Dinara-Galina held their nerves to clinch the title with a 10-5 victory.

Dinara-Galina earned the winners' cheque of US$11,000 (RM33,308) while Jessica-Noppawan received US5,750 (RM17,411).

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