This time the men get it

This time the men get it
Singapore's swimmer Joseph Schooling at the Toa Payoh Swimming Complex on 30 November 2013.

SINGAPORE - Last year, the message for Singapore's male athletes was loud and clear: not good enough.

This came after the Singapore Sports Awards (SSA) selections committee decided that there was no deserving nominee for the Sportsman of the Year award - only the third time in SSA's 47-year history that there was no winner for the prestigious category.

Yesterday, however, the Sportsman of the Year title made its way back into the fold for this year's awards, which will be given out on June 7 at Orchard Hotel.

Two nominees were named - swimmer Joseph Schooling and billiards player Peter Gilchrist.

United States-based Schooling, 18, set seven national records and was Singapore's most bemedalled athlete at the Myanmar SEA Games with five gold medals.

Gilchrist, 45, claimed his third world title, beating world No.1 David Causier in the International Billiards and Snooker Federation World Billiards Championship. He also claimed his third successive English billiards singles gold at last year's SEA Games.

Said Schooling, who won the award in 2012: "Maybe missing out last year gave us the push we needed. Personally, I did not have a good 2012, and it made me want to do better."

The Bolles School (Florida) student added: "This is the best award you can get as a sportsman in the country, and I'm happy and proud to be nominated.

"To be in the mix with a world champion like Peter says it all."

Gilchrist, whose stellar year began with victories in the Irish and Scottish Opens, was glad that the award will see a winner this year.

He said: "I remembered telling myself at last year's SSA ceremony that maybe I'd get nominated if I win the world championship, and ensure there's no repeat of this.

"Thankfully things worked out. I feel very privileged to be nominated alongside Joseph, who was tremendous. He produced the goods when he needed to and that is the mark of a great sportsman."

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