THE nation’s top badminton star Lee Chong Wei bagged the TYT Premier Award for the fifth time during the Penang State Sports Awards 2015 ceremony.
Despite enduring a quiet year by his own lofty standards in 2015, he did enough to edge squash queen Nicol David to the top prize in the Penang sports scene.
He completed a double at the ceremony after being named Penang’s Sportsman of the Year for 2015, edging out diver Ooi Tze Liang, the 2014 winner.
Chong Wei, who only returned to action in May last year after completing an eight-month suspension for doping, finished runner-up in the World Championships and won titles in Hong Kong, China, Canada, France and the SEA Games team event.
It was the 34-year-old’s fifth TYT Premier Award crown following victories in 2008, 2010, 2012 and 2013. Since the award was introduced in 2004, only Chong Wei or Nicol have won it every year. Nicol holds the record of having won the award the most times with seven triumphs – in 2004-07, 2009, 2011 and 2014.
Despite missing out on the top prize, Nicol did not return home empty-handed as she was named Penang’s Sportswoman of the Year for 2015.
Although she failed to defend her women’s world title in squash, she emerged victorious in several tournaments last year, including the Cleveland Classic, Hong Kong Open and Asian Championship.
She held off challenges from Esther Cheah (bowling), Celine Lee (karate) and Zaidatul Husniah Zulkifli (athletics) to win the Sportswoman title for a record 14th time.
Both Chong Wei and Nicol were not present at the ceremony to receive their awards.
Karate won the most accolades during the ceremony by winning in the best coach, best male team, best female team and best male promising athlete categories.
The men’s kata team of Hoe Thomson, Ricky Leong and Emmanuel Leong were silver medallists at the Asian Championships in Japan last October. The women’s kata team comprising Thor Chee Yee, Celine and Khaw Yee Voon won the gold medal at the South East Asian Championships in Laos.
Former Asian Games gold medalist Ku Jin Keat was named the best coach for the second successive year. Kata exponent Ivan Oh, 19, a surprise gold medalist in individual event at the South East Asian Championships in Laos, clinched the best promising male athlete award.
“I am happy to see my disciples continue to excel in international competitions. It is getting tougher each year to maintain our high standard and stay ahead of the competition.
“I hope the Penang karate exponents can keep up the good work, beginning with the 2016 South East Asian Karate Championships in Port Dickson in August,” said Jin Keat.
Rising badminton starlet Goh Jin Wei bagged the most promising female athlete award for her exploits in becoming the first Malaysian female shuttler to be crowned the world junior champion in 2015.
The 15-year-old is currently with the national women’s team competing in the Uber Cup in China.
Muhd Suhaili Hamid (bowling) and Koh Lee Peng (swimming) received the best paralympic athletes male and female awards respectively.
Kabbadi won an award for the first time at a Penang State Sports Awards ceremony through K. Balasubramaniam, who received the best sports leadership prize.
Yang di-Pertua Negri Tun Abdul Rahman Abbas presented the top awards to the winners.
ROLL OF HONOUR
TYT Premier Award: Lee Chong Wei (Badminton).
Sportsman of the Year: Lee Chong Wei (Badminton).
Sportswoman of the Year: Nicol David (Squash).
Best Team (Male): Kata (Karate).
Best Team (Female): Kata (Karate).
Best Promising Athlete (Male): Ivan Oh (Karate).
Best Promising Athlete (Female): Goh Jin Wei (Badminton)
Best Paralympic Athlete (Male): Muhd Suhaili Hamid (Bowling).
Best Paralympic Athlete (Female): Koh Lee Peng (Swimming).
Best Coach: Ku Jin Keat (Karate).
Best Sports Leadership: K. Balasubramaniam (Kabaddi).