Ability to inspire 'edges it'
As it had been since 2009, 11 editions and counting, the Singapore sports fraternity gathered to honour its finest at The Straits Times Athlete of the Year award presented by 100Plus.
Inspirational athletes and acts of sportsmanship were celebrated at the ceremony yesterday afternoon at the Shangri-La Hotel.
When his name was read out, the 190 guests applauded as Muhammad Jaris Goh was named the winner of the main award. The 24-year-old had been the driving force behind the Singapore men’s bowling team’s success last year.
St Andrew’s Secondary hockey captain Sean See, whose act of sportsmanship went viral on social media, got a similar reception when he was presented with the ST Young Athlete of the Year trophy.
Both winners, and all nominees, also received 100Plus hampers and commemorative plaques.
Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu lauded the nominees, saying: “You have won medals, set new records, overcome obstacles, and triumphed over setbacks. Above all, you have demonstrated great sportsmanship and dedication to sport and all the values sport represents.”
Goh guided the men to an unprecedented bronze at the World Men’s Championships and another bronze at the Asiad last year.
ST sports editor Lee Yulin said that it was tough for the seven-member judging panel to choose between the kegler and the four other nominees – paddler Yu Mengyu, shooter Martina Veloso and swimmers Toh Wei Soong and Joseph Schooling.
Above all, you have demonstrated great sportsmanship and dedication to sport and all the values sport represents.
MS GRACE FU, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, praising the nominees for their achievements.
She explained: “It was hard to distinguish among the nominees for the Athlete of the Year award, who all won medals at major Games.
“But, when one considers the impact of their achievement on their own sport and the inspiration that it would provide to the wider fraternity, then Jaris just edges it.
“His ability to inspire the team to two significant breakthroughs was a key reason why he won it.”
Goh said: “I dedicate this award to my parents who have supported my pursuit of sporting excellence; Jessie Phua, president of SBF (Singapore Bowling Federation); all national coaches; the SBF high-performance and secretariat team.
“Special thanks to my teammates at the 2018 Asian Games and World Men’s Championships as I could not have had my achievements without them. I treasure their friendship, camaraderie and support.”
While Sean had no trophies and medals to show for his 2018 season, the 16-year-old distinguished himself with his sportsmanship, even if his team lost a vital game.
At the Schools National B Division hockey bronze-medal match last March, he had requested a goal his team scored while an opponent was injured to be chalked off. The Saints lost in a penalty shoot-out.
Jennifer See, managing director, Singapore & YFI Malaysia, F&N Foods Singapore, said of the winners and nominees: “Their dedication to bring glory to Singapore and to their sports has inspired us all and filled our hearts with pride and joy.”
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