Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Sazali, Nicol the pick

FAMILIAR faces once again emerged victorious as Nicol David notched a record ninth Sportswoman of the Year award and Sazali Samad a third Sportsman of the Year title at the National Sports Awards ceremony in Bukit Kiara yesterday.

Nicol, who turns 31 this year, proved that she is still a force to be reckoned with on the world stage, winning seven out of the 10 international squash tournaments she competed in last year.
She has won the world title seven times, including five in a row from 2008 to 2012.

At 47, Sazali proved that age is not a factor in bodybuilding as he was in fine form last season, emerging victorious at the World Championships in Hungary in the 70kg class for the fifth time in a row. The world title was his ninth overall.

Sazali had also bagged a silver at the Myanmar Sea Games and a bronze at the Asian Bodybuilding and Physique Sports Championships in Vietnam last year. He last won the award in 2006 after first winning it in 2000.

Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin presented the awards. The duo received RM20,000 each for their achievements.

At the event, he said sports has now become a global industry with high commercial value and industry leaders need to be forward-thinking in order to emerge as main players on the international arena.

“Frictions among leaderships in associations need to be avoided and replaced with professionalism and sincerity in carrying out duties.

“I hope sports leaders will take this as a challenge and help the country hoist itself to a higher level,” said Muhyiddin.

He said the government was committed to emphasising the importance of sports among the younger generation.

Nicol, who won the British Open on Sunday, was represented by her father Desmond David.

The synchronised diving pair of Pandelela Rinong and Leong Mun Yee won the Women’s Team of the Year award for clinching bronze in the 10m platform event at the Barcelona World Championships as well as a second place at the Moscow leg of the World Diving Series.

The duo had also delivered a gold medal at the Myanmar Sea Games in the same discipline.
The Men’s Team of the Year went to the national juniors hockey squad.

The side finished fourth in the Junior World Cup in New Delhi and second out of six teams at the Sultan of Johor Cup last year.

K. Dharmaraj, who guided the team in both tournaments, also received due recognition as he took the Coach of the Year award.

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