Joseph Schooling, Martina Veloso earn top honours at Singapore Sports Awards

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The top winners at the Singapore Sports Awards 2019 – (from left) Sportsgirl of the Year Constance Lien, Sportswoman of the Year Martina Veloso, Sportsman of the Year Joseph Schooling and Sportsboy of the Year Muhammad Hazim Yusli. (PHOTO: Kong Chong Yew/Singapore National Olympic Council)
The top winners at the Singapore Sports Awards 2019 – (from left) Sportsgirl of the Year Constance Lien, Sportswoman of the Year Martina Veloso, Sportsman of the Year Joseph Schooling and Sportsboy of the Year Muhammad Hazim Yusli. (PHOTO: Kong Chong Yew/Singapore National Olympic Council)

SINGAPORE — One is a record six-time winner of Singapore’s top sportsman award. The other is a first-time Sportswoman of the Year winner on her maiden nomination.

Yet, both Joseph Schooling and Martina Veloso could barely contain their excitement upon winning the two most prestigious honours at the annual Singapore Sports Awards, held at Orchard Hotel Singapore on Tuesday (14 May).

For Schooling, it was the sixth time – and fifth consecutive year – that he was named Sportsman of the Year (2012, 2014 to 2018). He thus eclipses former national swimmer Patricia Chan and table tennis player Li Jiawei as the first athlete to win the main accolade more than five times.

Gold-winning efforts for Schooling, Veloso

“It feels better every single year, honestly,” said the 23-year-old swim star, who won two golds and two bronzes at last year’s Jakarta Asian Games. He was nominated alongside paddler Gao Ning, who won two golds at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, and silat world champion Sheik Farhan Sheik Alau’ddin.

“Each year, I felt like it got harder and harder for me to win because there are so many top sportsmen emerging in Singapore. So it gives me great motivation to keep training hard, keep winning, so that I can continue to be in contention for the award.”

As for 19-year-old shooter Veloso, she emerged winner over three other first-time nominees: Roanne Ho (swimming), Nurzuhairah Mohd Yazid (silat) and Vera Tan (wushu).

Wearing a wide smile, and repeatedly apologising for being unable to describe her emotions, Veloso thanked her national teammates and the Singapore Shooting Association for a successful 2018, highlighted by her two-gold feat at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.

“Winning this award on my first try is just amazing. I’m really don’t know how else to describe this feeling,” she told Yahoo News Singapore.

Other top sporting honours

The Sportsboy of the Year was awarded to silat’s Muhammad Hazim Yusli, who clinched a gold medal at the Pencak Silat World Championships at age 17.

Constance Lien, 19, earned the nod for Sportsgirl of the Year after winning an Asian Games silver medal in jiu-jitsu.

The Coach of the Year honours went to silat’s Sheik Alau’ddin Yaacob Marican, who led the national team to seven golds, six silvers and seven bronzes at the Pencak Silat World Championships, Singapore’s best-ever showing at the event.

Honour roll:

  • Sportsman of the Year: Joseph Schooling (swimming)

  • Sportswoman of the Year: Martina Veloso (shooting)

  • Sportsboy of the Year: Muhammad Hazim Yusli (silat)

  • Sportsgirl of the Year: Constance Lien (jiu-jitsu)

  • Coach of the Year: Sheik Alau'ddin Yaacob Marican (silat)

  • Team of the Year (Team Sport): Floorball men's team

  • Team of the Year (Event): Nur Azlyana Ismail, Nurhanishah Shahrudin (silat)

  • Sportsboy/Sportsgirl Team of the Year: Choo Yi Xuan and Kyra Poh (indoor skydiving)

  • Best Sports Photo of the Year: Lim Weixiang

  • Sports Journalist of the Year: Sazali Abdul Aziz (Straits Times)

  • Best Sports Event of the Year (International): Fina Swimming World Cup Singapore 2018 Presented by Yakult

  • Best Sports Event of the Year (Local): M1 Asian Netball Championship 2018

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