Singapore Sports Awards: Gilchrist and Ng take the main accolades

From utter despair to unbridled joy - all in the space of a few hours.

National bowler Shayna Ng ran the emotional gamut yesterday: she was left in tears after missing out on the Singapore International Open title by three pinfalls in the afternoon, but ended the night as Singapore's latest Sportswoman of the Year.

Together with the Sportsman of the Year, billiards world champion Peter Gilchrist, the 24-year-old was among the big winners at the Singapore Sports Awards ceremony held at Orchard Hotel.

"I lost the step-ladder final and had to rush from the bowling alley, so I was quite down coming into this," said Ng, whose 2013 accolades included successes at the International Bowling Championships and Malaysian Open.

"I just wanted to get it over and done with, but it's a good end of the day."

She pipped last year's winner, paddler Feng Tianwei, to the awards on a night when the best of sporting Singapore was celebrated.

"The year 2013 saw many sporting triumphs that we celebrated together as a nation," said guest of honour, Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean.

He was also recognised for his contributions as president of the Singapore National Olympic Council, with the International Olympic Committee's 150 Years, Pierre de Coubertin, Sport as the School of Life trophy.

Among the athletes he singled out for praise was Gilchrist, who defeated Britain's world No. 1 Dave Causier in Leeds last October to clinch a third world title.

"To be honest, I was already pleased to be nominated alongside Joseph (Schooling, national swimmer)," said the 46-year-old who, like Ng, was among the 66 inaugural Sports Excellence Scholarship recipients announced last September.

But the Republic's top sportsman is not done just yet - for Gilchrist, the next challenge is repeating his world championship success.

"I've never retained it," said the Middlesbrough-born player, whose previous crowns came in 1994 and 2001. "I know it'll be difficult to achieve, but that's what I want to do."

Also eagerly looking ahead was Coach of the Year Balazs Babella, who guided Singapore's canoeists to two golds, two silvers and two bronzes at last year's SEA Games.

"I'm still at the beginning; I've started something but we are not there yet," said the 35-year-old Hungarian, who took charge of the team in 2008.

"For my athletes, the SEA Games in Singapore is where we have to deliver and we'll do everything to do well then."

There was also cause for celebration last night for bowler Muhammad Jaris Goh and equestrian rider Janine Khoo, who took home the Sportsboy and Sportsgirl awards respectively.

It was an especially poignant moment for the latter, whose father, former national swimmer Khoo Teng Cheong, was also named Sportsboy of the Year in 1978 and 1979.

"I'm really pleased and honoured to have won this," said the 16-year-old, who delivered Singapore's first individual SEA Games equestrian gold in 30 years last December.

"My father won the Sportsboy of the Year award in 1978 and 1979, so in a way I've come full circle."

This article was first published on June 8, 2014.
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