SHUTTLER Datuk Lee Chong Wei and squash queen Datuk Nicol David, both world number one’s in their respective sport, were today crowned 2008 Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year in a glittering ceremony here today. Similarities were aplenty in the recipients as both Chong Wei and Nicol are the current world number one in their respective sport, both are from Penang, both are from racquet sport, both are 26 and both were also winners in 2005.
Chong Wei, the Beijing Olympic Games silver medallist and Nicol, unbeaten throughout last year, winning 10 professional titles, received RM10,000 cash each and a trophy. However, Chong Wei who is in India for the Indian Open badminton championships was not present to receive his trophy from the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin but Nicol was on stage to collect hers. Apart from the Olympic silver, Chong Wei also clinched the Malaysian Open Super Series, Singapore Open and Super Series Masters Final and finished runner-up in the Japan Open, Macau Open and China Open last year.
Nicol on the other hand, apart from winning 10 professional titles on the WISPA Tour, had also won the World title and led the Malaysian women’s team to a third place finish in the World Team championship. The other nominees in the men’s award were Mohd Azizul Hasni Awang (cycling), Zulmazran Zulkifli (bowling), Safuan Said (lawn bowling), Cheng Chu Sian (archery) and Lee Hup Wei (athletics). The short listed candidates for the women’s award were Chin Eei Hui-Wong Pei Tty (badminton doubles), Fatehah Mustapa (cycling), Wendy Chai (bowling), Siti Zalina Ahmad (lawn bowls), Siow Yi Ting (swimming) and Chai Fong Yin (wushu).
The awards night was indeed a double joy for badminton and Chong Wei especially, when his coach Datuk Misbun Sidek picked up the best coach of the year award in the men’s category but there was no winner in the women’s category.
Meanwhile, the men’s archery team comprising Cheng Chu Sian, Muhammad Marbawi Sulaiman and Wan Mohd Khalmizam Wan Abdul Aziz who finished 6th in the Beijing Olympics were adjudged the Best Men’s Team for 2008. The women’s title went to the national squash team comprising Nicol, Sharon Wee, Delia Arnold and Low Wee Wern who won the Asian title and who finished third in the World Women’s Squash championship.
Former golf ace V. Nellan and Petrina Low Lain Hun were recipients of the Special Awards in the men’s and women’s category while the awards night also paid tribute to Beijing Olympic Games’ Chef-de-Mission Datuk Ho Koh Chye who passed away on Dec 4, aged 66, with a Special Award. Koh Chye who represented the national hockey team in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics and 1968 Mexico Olympics had also coached the Malaysian squad to a fourth placing in the 1975 World Cup in Kuala Lumpur, hockey’s best-ever result to date. Zul Amirul Sidi Abdullah, winner of two gold and a silver medal in swimming events of the Asean Paragames in Korat, Thailand swept the Best Male Paralympics Athlete while Siow Lee Chan winner of a bronze medal in powerlifting at the Beijing Paralympics was the obvious choice for the Best Female Paralympics athlete. – source BERNAMA