SINGAPORE — For five years, Peter Gilchrist has had to watch Joseph Schooling dominate the Sportsman of the Year honour at the annual Singapore Sports Awards, as the Olympic swimming champion swept the accolade from 2015 to 2019.
On Wednesday (28 October), however, the reigning billiards world champion finally added a second Sportsman of the Year award to his maiden one in 2014, receiving the honour in a stripped-down ceremony at the Sports Singapore auditorium in the Singapore Sports Hub.
“It’s a fantastic feeling, especially after Joseph Schooling had a stranglehold on the award for the past few years. To win it again after 2014 is a dream come true,” the 52-year-old said.
He certainly has the outstanding credentials to win the award, after a 2019 in which he claimed his sixth world title, as well as his sixth consecutive English Billiards singles SEA Games gold.
While Gilchrist celebrated his second Sportsman of the Year award, bowler Cherie Tan took home her first Sportswoman of the Year honour, after a stellar 2019 in which she became the first Asian to win the QubicaAMF PWBA Players Championship, as well as the Masters trophy at the World Bowling Women's Championships.
The 32-year-old also won part of the gold-winning women’s national team at the SEA Games, and such was her winning momentum that she was a little disappointed at the disruption to the bowling calendar this year amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
There's definitely disappointment that we can't carry forward the momentum but at the end of the day, it’s still go to have a long break to reset and get going for the next year,” she said.
Louise Khng is 1st woman to win Coach of the Year
Former national women’s floorball coach Louise Khng made history by being the first woman to clinch the Coach of the Year award since its inception in 1970.
The 37-year-old beat five men – Gao Ning (table tennis), Mulyo Handoyo (badminton), Kirill Ivanov (shooting), Stephan Widmer (swimming), Jason Yeong-Nathan (bowling) – to the trophy.
Under her guidance, the floorball women’s team came in 12th at the 2019 World Floorball Championship in Neuchatel, Switzerland. It is the team's best performance at the world meet.
"It really opens up the field for female coaches out there to strive to be really good coaches, to be there for their athletes, and to know that no matter what they do, they will be recognised eventually,” Khng said of her win.
The women’s floorball team – which also retained their SEA Games gold – were rewarded with the Team of the Year (Team Sport) award for the second time, ahead of the only other nominee, the men's national softball team.
Table tennis player Koen Pang and fencer Amita Berthier were honoured with the Sportsboy and Sportsgirl of the Year awards following breakthrough years in their respective sports.
Sportsman of the Year: Peter Gilchrist (cue sports)
Sportswoman of the Year: Cherie Tan (bowling)
Sportsboy of the Year: Koen Pang (table tennis)
Sportsgirl of the Year: Amita Berthier (fencing)
Coach of the Year: Louise Khng (floorball)
Team of the Year (Team Sport): floorball women’s team
Team of the Year (Event): swimming women’s 4x200m freestyle team at 2019 SEA Games (Christie Chue, Gan Ching Hwee, Quah Jing Wen, Quah Ting Wen)
Sportsboy/Sportsgirl Team of the Year (Event): table tennis men’s doubles team (Josh Chua, Koen Pang)
Best Sports Photo of the Year: Andy Chua
Most Inspiring Sport Story of the Year: “Heroes are found on all types of wheels” by Rohit Brijnath of The Straits Times
Best Sports Event of the Year (International): 2019 International Champions Cup Singapore Presented by AIA
Best Sports Event of the Year (Local): Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon 2019
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