Badminton's Loh, pool player Yapp up for top award at returning Singapore Sports Awards
Badminton star Loh Kean Yew and former world No.1 pool player Aloysius Yapp have been shortlisted for the Sportsman of the Year award, while bowler Shayna Ng is in the running for a hat-trick of Sportswoman of the Year awards.
They were all announced on Tuesday as finalists for the Singapore Sports Awards (SSA), which will take place on Nov 10 and honour national athletes and coaches for their performances and achievements in 2021.
The SSA, which is organised by the Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC) and Sport Singapore (SportSG) and supported by the Tote Board, will make its return after a one-year hiatus after sports competitions and events were stalled as a result of the pandemic.
At the last award ceremony in 2020, billiards player Peter Gilchrist picked up his second Sportsman of the Year title, while bowler Cherie Tan won the Sportswoman of the Year award.
Yapp, currently the No.5 pool player in the world, has an opportunity to make it consecutive wins in the category for cuesport after his historic rise to the top of his game's ranking in October 2021.
Loh also achieved a milestone in his own sport that year when he became the first Singaporean to win the BWF World Championship in Spain in December. Earlier this month, he also climbed to fifth in the world ranking, the highest for a Singaporean male player.
Like Yapp, Ng also has a chance to extend bowling's strong record in the Sportswoman of the Year category. Female keglers have picked up four of the last seven awards, with Ng herself winning in 2014 and 2016. She is in contention once again after winning the gold medal in the women's singles at the International Bowling Federation Super World Championships in Dubai in December 2021.
The other contenders for the award also enjoyed stellar years in 2021.
Berthier, a University of Notre Dame student, was named the Women's Foil Athlete of the Year by the United States Fencing Coaches Association and became the first Singaporean female fencer to qualify for the Olympic Games.
Yu, meanwhile, won plaudits at the Tokyo Games after fighting through an injury in the semi-final against China's eventual gold medallist Chen Meng, before losing to Japan's Mima Ito in the third-place play-off. The Singaporean has since retired from competition.
Ben Tan, chairman of the SSA organising committee who also served as chef de mission for the 2020 Olympics, said: "The Covid-19 pandemic stalled sports competitions and major Games, but did not dampen the spirit of Team Singapore.
"Our athletes were resilient and kept up their training as best they could, despite numerous hurdles. We are very pleased to resume the SSA to celebrate the achievements of our athletes and the sporting community in 2021.
Two categories, the Best Sports Event of the Year (Local) and Best Sports Event of the Year (International), were omitted from this year's ceremony because of the impact the pandemic had on the sports events industry. They will be reinstated in 2023.
A trio of Straits Times writers - assistant sports editors Rohit Brijnath and Jonathan Wong, and reporter Kimberly Kwek - were shortlisted among five finalists for the Most Inspiring Sports Story of the Year. ST photojournalist Shintaro Tay was also nominated for Best Sports Photo of the Year.
Sportsman of the Year: Loh Kean Yew (badminton), Aloysius Yapp (cuesports)
Sportswoman of the Year: Amita Berthier (fencing), Yu Mengyu (table tennis), Shayna Ng (bowling)
Sportsboy of the Year: Maximilian Maeder (sailing), Izaac Yong (table tennis)
Sportsgirl of the Year: Ser Lin Qian (table tennis)
Coach of the Year: Jason Yeong-Nathan (bowling), Gao Ning (table tennis), Li Peng (diving), Fernando Kuo (sailing)
Team of the Year (Event): Bowling men's team (Cheah Ray Han, Darren Ong, Jonovan Neo and Jomond Chia), Badminton mixed doubles (Terry Hee and Jessica Tan), Table tennis women's team (Feng Tianwei, Yu Mengyu and Lin Ye), Women's 49er Women's skiff team (Kimberly Lim and Cecilia Low)
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