Sazali Samad shows off the Mr.Universe golf medal he won at the World Bodybuilding and Physique Sports Championships in Hungary last year. He has been nominated for the National Sportsman of the Year award. - Filepic
KUALA LUMPUR: Nine-time world bodybuilding champion Sazali Samad and world No. 1 shuttler Lee Chong Wei are the two frontrunners for the national Sportsman of the Year award at the Juara Stadium in Bukit Kiara on May 19.
Last month, Sazali, the 45-year-old police officer, was crowned as the 2013 Sportswriters Association of Malaysia’s (SAM) Athlete of the Year.
Last year, Chong Wei was in top form. He bagged seven titles and was the runner-up in the World Championships in Guangzhou, China.
The others nominated for the award are karate exponent Lim Chee Wei, Benjamin Khor Jeng Jie (shooting), Mohd Jironi Riduan (athletics), Ooi Tze Liang (diving) and Hon Mun Hua (wushu).
Diver Pandelela Rinong, who won the bronze medal in the 10m synchronised platform event at the World Championships in Barcelona last year, will face a strong challenge from world No. 1 squash player Nicol David for the Sportswoman of the Year award.
Seven-time world champion Nicol was a winner of five Women’s Squash Association (WSA) Tour titles last year.
The others nominees are Kelly Tan Guat Chen (golf), Casier Renee Kelly Lee (athletics), Diana Bong Siong Lin (wushu) and Nisha Alagasan (karate).
The National Juniors, who finished a creditable fourth in the Junior World Cup hockey championship in New Delhi last December, are the favourites to clinch the men’s team award.
K. Dharmaraj, who guided the National Juniors in New Delhi, is among the nine coaches shortlisted for the men’s coach award.
The others nominated are Tey Seu Bock (badminton), Dzulkarnain Sapian (bowling), Lim Yew Fai (wushu), Aaron Soyza (squash), Cheong Pak Kau (squash), Abdul Rani Idris (sailing), A. Tripadi (athletics) and Suod Hussain (hockey).
There is no nomination for the women’s coach award.
Two athletes – shuttler Cheah Like Hou and shot putter Muhammad Ziyad Zolkefli – have been nominated for the men’s national Paralympic award.
Archer Nor Saadah Abdul Wahab and athlete Hemala Devi Enikutty are the two shortlisted for the women’s Paralympic award.
“There are 47 sports associations in Malaysia but only 19 associations nominated their athletes and coaches for the awards,” said Youth and Sports Ministry secretary general Datuk Jamil Salleh.
“This year, we have introduced a new category, the TM award, for the most popular athlete in the country. The winner will be picked based on the most number of votes he or she gets online,” added Jamil.