Tuesday, 5 January 2010
Close fight between footballers, swimmers for annual awards
By LIM TEIK HUAT PETALING JAYA:
The victorious men’s football team and the women’s badminton team at the Laos SEA Games last month are among the nominees for the 2009 Coca Cola Olympian of the Year Awards.
But they could lose out to the individual brilliance of swimmers Daniel Bego and Siow Yi Ting, who made big splashes at the biennial Games in Vientiane.
The awards for the most outstanding male and female Malaysian athletes will be presented during the Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) annual dinner on Jan 16 at the OCM Indoor Sports Arena in the Wisma OCM.
The men’s football team ended a 20-year gold medal drought at the Games, beating Vietnam 1-0 in the final. And it is the first time that they earned a nomination for the Male Olympian of the Year award.
But it is Daniel who is expected to clinch the award for his outstanding five-gold performance in Vientiane.
The 20-year-old also broke four Games records and was named the Most Outstanding Male Athlete of the 25th SEA Games.
If Daniel triumphs on Jan 16, it will be his second win. He was named the 2007 Olympian of the Year for bagging two gold medals in new record times at the Korat SEA Games.
Two divers – Yeoh Ken Nee and Bryan Nickson Lomas – also made the list of nominees along with karate exponent R. Puvaneswaran.
Ken Nee won two gold medals in the 3m springboard individual and synchronized events.
Bryan also put up a similar feat as Ken Nee’s partner for the 3m springboard synchronized apart from a successful defence of the 10m platform individual title.
Puvaneswaran won the below 55kg kumite competition and it was his fifth SEA Games gold medal.
Swimmer Yi Ting is also in the running for a second female Olympian of the Year award.
Yi Ting ushered in her 24th birthday in style by winning three gold medals and set three new SEA Games records.
Yi Ting, whose birthday fell on the second day of the swimming competition on Dec 11, was the winner for 2008.
Giving her a tough fight will be the women’s badminton team, who won the gold after a lapse of 34 years.
Top women’s doubles pair Wong Pei Tty-Chin Ee Hui, who were the winner in 2005, are also in the running. The duo played in the victorious team and went on to claim the women’s doubles gold medal.
Divers Leong Mun Yee and Pandelela Rinong are also among the female nominees.
Mun Yee, who was the winner of the award in 2001, bagged two gold medals in the women’s 3m springboard and 10m platform synchronized diving events.
Sixteen-year-old Pandelela claimed gold medals in the 10m platform individual and synchronized diving events.
The OCM secretary, Datuk Sieh Kok Chi, said that the men’s football and women’s badminton team were also worthy considerations although the awards had been given out to individuals all this while.
“The awards this time will be based on the performance of the athletes at the SEA Games,” he said.
“The Deputy Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, who is also the chairman of the Cabinet Committee on Sports, will be the guest of honour and will give out the awards.”