KUALA LUMPUR: Vietnam SEA Games sprint king Nazmizan Muhammad and World Badminton Championships runner-up Wong Choong Hann are the leading contenders for the 2003 National Sportsman of the Year Award.
The National Sportsman and Sportswoman Selection Committee, chaired by the Youth and Sports Ministry's secretary-general, Datuk Tala'at Husain, also had swimmer Lim Keng Liat, bodybuilder Sazali Samad, bowler Azidi Ameran and gymnast Ng Shu Wai in their list of six shortlisted candidates for the award.
For the Sportswoman Award, last year's winner Shalin Zulkifli is again among the leading contenders together with Vietnam SEA Games badminton gold medallist Wong Mew Choo.
Also in the list for the award, which carries a purse of RM10,000, are squash's Nicol David, who rose to eighth spot in the world ranking, swimmer Siow Yi Ting, gymnast Durratun Nashihin Rosli and athletic's Yuan Yufang.
The awards ceremony to be held on March 30 at the Sheraton Subang Hotel is expected to be graced by the King, Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin Syed Petra Jamalullail.
Nazmizan, winner of the 100m and 200m sprint double in the Vietnam Games is tipped to have the edge after ending the country's 36-year wait to achieve such a feat.
Choong Hann strengthens his claim for the award with splendid performances throughout last year, including a runner-up finish to China's Xia Xuanze in the World Championships in Birmingham.
He had also won the Taiwan Open and was the runner-up in the China Open. He was the semi-finalists in the Malaysian and Danish Opens.
Mew Choo stakes her claim with her success to clinch the SEA Games women's singles gold medal for the country after a lapse of 26 years.
The committee received 16 nominations for men and 10 for women. Bernama