Azizulhasni, Zii Jia frontrunners for Athlete of the Year award

Azizulhasni, Zii Jia frontrunners for Athlete of the Year award

The track cycling ace and Lee Zii Jia are among the contenders for the Sportswriters Association of Malaysia (SAM)-100PLUS Unity 2020/2021 Athlete of the Year award. — Reuters pic

Wednesday, 24 Aug 2022 6:26 PM MYT

PETALING JAYA, Aug 24 — Track cycling ace Datuk Mohd Azizulhasni Awang and top men’s singles shuttler Lee Zii Jia are among the contenders for the Sportswriters Association of Malaysia (SAM)-100PLUS Unity 2020/2021 Athlete of the Year award.

SAM president Norismadi Abd Manap said the other three candidates for the award, to be held on September 6, are shuttlers Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik, the 2020 Tokyo Olympics men’s doubles bronze medallist; diving queen Datuk Pandelela Rinong; and muay Thai exponent Rifdean Mansor.

Four 2020 Tokyo Paralympic athletes — gold medallists Bonnie Bunyau Gustin (powerlifting), Datuk Abdul Latif Romly (athletics) and Cheah Liek Hou (badminton) as well silver medallist Chew Wei Lun (boccia) — are in the running for the Para Athlete of the Year award.

Norismadi expects the awards ceremony, which will be held after a one-year hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic, to be more interesting as this will be the first time that they are combining the 2020 and 2021 editions.

He said about 200 entries had been received, including from portals, for the 17 sports journalism awards this time, involving eight categories each for 2020 and 2021 as well as the Siebel Award for the best overall winner.

“This year we are also introducing two categories — Best Unity Sports Journalism and Best Unity Photograph.

“The unity award category, which is a collaboration between SAM and National Unity Ministry, was created as it could indirectly help Malaysians realise that the element of unity is very clear and obvious in sports,” he said.

He also pointed out that a total of RM109,000 in cash prizes await the winners, making it the highest-ever amount to be given out since the event began in 1985.

This year’s awards ceremony, to be held at a leading hotel here, is expected to be officiated by Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu and also attended by National Unity Minister Datuk Halimah Mohamed Sadique. — Bernama