After a bumper 2014 and a stellar year so far, things could continue to go swimmingly for local aquatics.
Swimmer Joseph Schooling is among the three athletes shortlisted for the Sportsman of the Year award when nominees for the 2014 Singapore Sports Awards were revealed yesterday.
The 20-year-old, with his breakthrough Commonwealth Games silver and Asian Games medals (gold, silver and bronze), is a clear favourite for the accolade. The other contenders are badminton's Derek Wong and table tennis' Zhan Jian.
Schooling told The Straits Times from the United States where he is based: "I'm happy and honoured to be in contention for such a prestigious award. Athletes work hard all their lives to win accolades, and I'm glad my hard work has paid off."
He was also nominated last year but the award was given to cue sports' Peter Gilchrist.
Swimming's Sergio Lopez is in the running for Coach of the Year, despite taking over the post of head coach only from Jan 1. He was part of the coaching set-up at both the Commonwealth and Asian Games.
He said: "It's a little surprising because I've only been in Singapore for seven months but it's exciting.
"To be nominated as one of the top coaches is a privilege."
Bowling's Remy Ong, table tennis' Jing Junhong and 2013 winner Fernando Alegre of sailing make up the rest of the nominees for the Coach accolade.
In the Sportswoman of the Year category, Jazreel Tan, who is one of four nominees, hopes to make it two in a row for bowling. Shayna Ng had won the award last year.
This is the first time the two-time Sportsgirl of the Year (2008, 2009) has been nominated for this award.
Swimming's Tao Li, shooting's Jasmine Ser and table tennis' Feng Tianwei are the other nominees.
Currently in Japan competing, Tan said: "It's every athlete's dream to be recognised. To win would be a bonus. It would be very good for Singapore Bowling, since bowling isn't the most spectator-friendly sport."
Badminton's Wong is also a first-time nominee for the Sportsman award.
"It shows that I played a part in bringing glory to Singapore sports in 2014, and it's a good way to cap a year that was very intense and quite tiring," he said.
The awards, organised by the Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC) and Sport Singapore, are supported by the Tote Board.
Minister for Social and Family Development Tan Chuan-Jin, who is also president of the SNOC, had chaired a selection committee for the main awards.
The Straits Times' Jonathan Wong was nominated for the Most Inspiring Sports Story of the Year award, for his feature on world junior pool champion Aloysius Yapp and his decision to defer his studies to focus on sports.
The 11 awards will be given out at a ceremony on Aug 5.
With the Youth Olympics, Commonwealth and Asian Games packed within a year, there was no shortage of outstanding performances for selectors to choose from.
Said Annabel Pennefather, chairman of the awards organising committee: "There were many commendable nominations put forward by the national sports associations for consideration.
"It is indeed very encouraging to see representatives from different sports making the final shortlist."
This article was first published on July 11, 2015.
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