Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Nicol To Flex Her Muscle Against Sazali For Second SAM-100 PLUS Crown

KUALA LUMPUR, March 17 (Bernama) -- Malaysian squash queen and World Number One Datuk Nicol David is gunning for her second Athlete of the Year Award for the Sportswriters Association of Malaysia (SAM-100 PLUS) Awards, which will be held in Petaling Jaya tomorrow.

The 31-year-old Penangite is the front runner for the top award even though she would once again be up against formidable bodybuilder Sazali Samad.

Both athletes were gunning for the main prize last year but the accolade went to the multiple-winning Sazali, who incidentally picked up his 10th Mr Universe crown recently.

But Nicol, who wrapped up her eighth World Crown in commanding fashion last year, seems to have an advantage over her rivals this time around in what has been a fantastic year for the Amsterdam-based player.

Other than maintaining her World Number One title, she picked up the British Open and Hong Kong Open crowns and also delivered gold in both individual and team events at the Incheon Asian Games in South Korea.

Meanwhile, SAM President Ahmad Khawari Isa said like previous editions, it was tough to pick the shortlisted candidates since many factors had to be taken into account before the names were released.

"It is now up to the SAM members to choose whom they think has made the biggest impact in Malaysian sports last year," he said in a statement today.

He noted that the top award will not be just a two-way battle as motorsport's Zaqhwan Zaidi has also thrown his name into the hat for consideration.

The two-wheel ace had a breakthrough season in 2014 when he emerged as the overall champion in the Petronas FIM Asia Road Racing 600cc SuperSport Championship after becoming the youngest ever winner of the premier event at the age of 19.

Ahmad Khawari said besides Nicol, Sazali and Zaqhwan, two other candidates shortlisted for the top award this year are weightlifter Mohd Hafifi Mansor and karate exponent Lim Chee Wei.

Mohd Hafifi picked up a gold at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow while Chee Wei who was making his debut at the Incheon Asian Games did the nation proud by winning gold in the Men's Kata.

Besides athletes, SAM members would also be recognized at the event in various categories namely best news report-print, commentary-print, best news report - electronic, commentary-electronic, special report-print and electronic and best photography.

The Overall Award winner is picked from the six categories and will pocket RM7,000.

-- BERNAMA

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