NO surprises. That sums up the 2005 Penang Sports Awards ceremony at Penang International Sports Arena (PISA) recently.
As expected, the panel judges unanimously gave Penang-born Lee Chong Wei and Nicol David the top accolades for their outstanding performances.
Nicol, the only nominee for the Penang Premier TYT Challenge Trophy - the highest award accorded to an athlete by the state - hung on to the award for the second time in as many years.
Her achievement last year was simply magnificent, grabbing five titles on the women's professional circuit – the Kuwait Open, Dutch Open, Malaysian Open, British Open and Carol Weymuller Open in New York.
She was also the women’s singles gold medal winner during the World Games in Duisberg, Ger-many.
However, her biggest breakthrough without doubt was in December last year when she became the first Asian woman to be crowned the world champion in Hong Kong.
The achievement lifted her to the top of the world rankings for the first time.
Her father Desmond David received the trophy and RM5,000 on behalf of Nicol from Penang Yang di-pertua Negri Tun Abdul Rahman Abbas during the ceremony.
Meanwhile, the Best Sportsman and Best Sportswoman awards went to first-timers Lee Chong Wei (badminton) and Esther Cheah (tenpin bowling) respectively.
Chong Wei's father, Lee Ah Chai, received the prizes.
Said Ah Chai: “Chong Wei would surely feel elated as this is the first time he has received the state's top honour.”
The Bukit Mertajam-born player bagged his first five-star singles title in the Danish Open and retained his Malaysian Open title.
He also capped a memorable debut outing during the World Championships by bagging the bronze medal, besides reaching the semi-finals in the All-England championships.
Bowler Esther Cheah Mei Lan got the nod for being the first Malaysian woman to win the singles gold medal at the 2005 World Championships.
The state karate-do team, continued to shine as they brought home four awards - the most promising athlete (male) Tan Chee Sheng, most promising athlete (female) Tan Shi Ying, best men's team and best women's team.
THE ROLL OF HONOUR
Premier Challenge Trophy: Nicol David (squash)
Best Sportsman: Lee Chong Wei (badminton)
Best Sportswoman: Esther Cheah Mei Lan (tenpin bowling)
Most Promising Athlete (Male): Tan Chee Sheng (karate-do)
Most Promising Athlete (Female): Tan Shi Ying (karate-do)
Best Men's Team: Penang karate-do team.
Best Women's Team: Penang karate-do team
Best Coach: Azizuddin Khan Omar Khan (sepak takraw)
Special Award for Disabled Athletes: Kwong Kong Thye (swimming)
Sports Leadership Award: Ong Poh Eng (weightlifting)