Quah swimming siblings Zheng Wen and Ting Wen could create history at the Singapore Sports Awards this month by becoming the first brother and sister pair to win the Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year awards after both earned nominations for their achievements last year.
Their younger sister Jing Wen, 19, is also in the running for the Sportsgirl of the Year award.
Ting Wen is up against Cheyenne Goh (ice skating), Tessa Neo (shooting) and Cherie Tan (bowling) for the Sportswoman of the Year gong.
The 28-year-old, who won six gold medals at last year’s SEA Games in the Philippines, said the nomination is a form of encouragement for the trio.
“It’s particularly meaningful because 2019-2020 has not been an easy year for us and there have been many transitions and challenges, but we are still hanging on to our dream of being in the Tokyo Olympics together representing Singapore,” she said yesterday.
Ting Wen, who is in Budapest to compete for International Swimming League team DC Trident, also lowered the 50m freestyle national record twice and the 100m free record four times last year.
Zheng Wen, 24, will have to fend off the challenge from fellow nominees, veteran billiards world champion Peter Gilchrist – who took home his Sportsman award in 2014 – and silat exponent Sheik Ferdous Sheik Alau’ddin.
Olympic champion Joseph Schooling, who won the accolade six times in 2012 and from 2015 to 2019, is not in the running this year.
Zheng Wen, who is an undergraduate at the University of California, Berkeley, is gunning for his first Sportsman award after making a splash at the SEA Games, where he was named the Games’ Most Valuable Player for male athletes after bagging six golds and two silvers.
The finalists for the awards were revealed by the Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC) in a press release yesterday and the winners will be announced in a ceremony on Oct 28.
Organised by the SNOC and Sport Singapore, and supported by the Tote Board Group, the Sports Awards honour the most deserving individuals and teams in sports for last year.
- THE FINALISTS
SPORTSMAN OF THE YEAR Peter Gilchrist (cue sports), Quah Zheng Wen (swimming), Sheik Ferdous Sheik Alau’ddin (silat)
SPORTSWOMAN OF THE YEAR Cheyenne Goh (ice skating), Tessa Neo (shooting), Quah Ting Wen (swimming), Cherie Tan (bowling)
SPORTSBOY OF THE YEAR Darren Chua (swimming), Hazim Yusli (silat), Koen Pang (table tennis)
SPORTSGIRL OF THE YEAR Amita Berthier (fencing), Siti Khadijah Shahrem (silat), Quah Jing Wen (swimming), Arianne Tay (bowling)
COACH OF THE YEAR Gao Ning (table tennis), Mulyo Handoyo (badminton), Kirill Ivanov (shooting), Louise Khng (floorball), Stephan Widmer (swimming), Jason Yeong-Nathan (bowling)
TEAM OF THE YEAR (TEAM SPORT) Floorball women’s team, softball men’s team
TEAM OF THE YEAR (EVENT) Swimming women’s 4x200m freestyle team, ice skating men’s 3,000m relay team, bowling women’s team of four, fencing women’s foil team, silat men’s artistic team, underwater hockey women’s team (all at 2019 SEA Games)
SPORTSBOY/SPORTSGIRL TEAM OF THE YEAR (EVENT) Bowling mixed team (2019 World Junior Bowling Championships), table tennis men’s doubles team (2019 SEA Games)
SPORTS EVENT OF THE YEAR (LOCAL) OCBC Cycle 2019, Play Inclusive 2019, Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon 2019
SPORTS EVENT OF THE YEAR (INTERNATIONAL) Fina Swimming World Cup 2019, HSBC Singapore Rugby Sevens 2019, International Champions Cup Singapore, Super League Triathlon Singapore
MOST INSPIRING SPORT STORY OF THE YEAR Sazali Abdul Aziz, Rohit Brijnath (The Straits Times), Chia Han Keong (Yahoo News Singapore), Justin Kor (SNOC)
SPORTS PHOTO OF THE YEAR Andy Chua, Leandro Ngo, Lim Sau Boon, Lim Weixiang, Kohei Ueno
The heroics of the national men’s softball team also earned them a nomination for Team of the Year (Team Sport) alongside the women’s floorball team. Last year was a breakthrough season for the softballers, who competed at the Men’s Softball World Championship for the first time since 1992 before going on to clinch a first-ever gold medal at the SEA Games.
The nomination came as a pleasant surprise for former captain Ivan Ng, who retired after the SEA Games. The 32-year-old, who had captained the team for a decade, said: “It was great not just for softball in Singapore but those overseas too because they now think it’s possible to turn the tide.
“For myself, it was great to end with the historic SEA Games gold and this nomination is unexpected so it’s the cherry on top.”
It was also a memorable year for the women’s floorball team, who won the accolade in 2018, as they retained their SEA Games gold with a 3-2 win over Thailand in the final.
Less than a week later, they were back in action at the Women’s World Floorball Championship in Neuchatel, Switzerland, where they finished in their best position of 12th.
Louise Khng, the women’s team coach from 2017 till January this year, said the nomination was “recognition of their hard work and performances”. The 37-year-old is also one of the six nominees for the Coach of the Year.
The Straits Times’ Sazali Abdul Aziz and Rohit Brijnath are among the four nominees for the Most Inspiring Sport Story of the Year.
This year’s main awards selection committee was chaired by SNOC president Tan Chuan-Jin and the selection committee for the Sportsboy and Sportsgirl awards was helmed by its vice-president Jessie Phua.
The winners will be announced at the Oct 28 presentation ceremony, which will be attended only by the finalists owing to the Covid-19 pandemic. The event will be streamed live on SNOC’s Facebook page.