PUTRAJAYA: Budding squash player Aifa Azman, rhythmic gymnast Izzah Amzan and sailor Fauzi Kaman Shah came out tops in the Ministry of Education (MOE)-MSSM-Milo Sports Awards.
Aifa is only the second female recipient of the coveted Gold Sportsperson Award for her achievements in winning three British Junior Open titles and three Professional Squash Association (PSA) Tour titles at the age of 16 last year.
Fauzi claimed the Best Sportsboy Award for his golden feats in the Laser 4.7 category at the Asian Games and the Asian Championships in Jakarta last year.
Rhythmic gymnast Izzah picked up the Best Sportsgirl Award as a member of the silver-medal winning Malaysian team at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.
She also danced her way to five golds and one silver at the Asean Schools Games in Kuala Lumpur last year.
All three received a trophy and RM5,000 each at the awards ceremony in Putrajaya yesterday.
It will be the second time that 17-year-old Aifa will be receiving one of the main awards as she was also the Best Sportsgirl in 2016.
This latest accolade is a bigger recognition as she is only the second female recipient of the Gold Sportsperson Award in 50 years.
Squash queen Nicol David was the only previous female recipient back in 1992.
It is the highest honour and not handed out on an annual basis but instead reserved for deserving recipients who excelled in sports and academics.
“This is completely unexpected and I am very grateful for it. It is also very significant to me as I get to follow in the footsteps of my idol, Nicol David, a past recipient of the same award.
“I wish to thank my parents, teachers and coaches for their support and guidance in pushing me past my limits and realising my goals.
“I am more inspired to achieve better things in the future,” said Aifa, a double gold medallist at the Malaysia Games (Sukma) in Ipoh last year.
Fauzi was also pleased to earn recognition for what he achieved in sailing.
“It is a tough sport as we are out in the hot sun all the time but I am used to it.
“I am happy to win this a second time after 2015 and it’s more special as I contributed a gold medal to the Malaysian contingent at the Asian Games,” said Langkawi-born Fauzi, who will be getting ready for the Philippines SEA Games at the end of this year.