Singapore Sports Awards: Schooling's coach Eddie Reese named Coach of the Year, swimmer also up for Sportsman crown

Swimmer Joseph Schooling speaking with coach Eddie Reese at the University of Texas in Austin on June 6, 2016.
Swimmer Joseph Schooling speaking with coach Eddie Reese at the University of Texas in Austin on June 6, 2016. PHOTO: THE SCHOOLING FAMILY

SINGAPORE - American swim coach Eddie Reese, who helped guide Joseph Schooling to a historic Olympic gold last year at the Rio Games, has been named Singapore sports' Coach of the Year.

He was the only nominee in that category when the Singapore Sports Awards selection committees revealed the finalists of the 2017 nominees on Thursday (July 13).

The legendary Reese, who turns 76 later this month, has been head coach at the University of Texas at Austin since 1978, where Schooling studies and trains.

He was previously the head coach of the mighty United States' Olympic team (2004, 2008), and also served as assistant coach at four other Olympiads.

Schooling himself is up for the Sportsman of the Year gong. He has cue sports' Peter Gilchrist and silat exponent Shakir Juanda for competition.

Organised by the Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC) and Sport Singapore (SportSG), and supported by the Tote Board Group, the 2017 SSA honour the most deserving individuals and teams in sports for the year 2016.

The main awards selection committee was chaired by Tan Chuan-Jin, Minister for Social and Family Development and President of the SNOC. Tan Eng Liang, vice-president of the SNOC, chaired the selection committee for the Sportsboy/Sportsgirl awards.

Helen Soulsby, managing partner in Asia for Sports Recruitment International, led the selection committee for the two Best Sports Events awards (local and international).

The Most Inspiring Sports Story of the Year selection committee was chaired by Robert Conceicao, president of the Institute of Public Relations Singapore.

The SNOC introduced a new award category this year - Best Sports Photo of the Year - to recognise excellence in sports photography and encourage avid photographers to take an interest in sports photography. The Best Sports Photo selection committee was chaired by Tan Soo Nan, chairman of the advisory board at The Photographic Society of Singapore.

The IOC Trophy - which takes on the theme "Sport beyond borders" this year - will also be presented to a deserving recipient at the event.

Another SNOC vice-president, Low Teo Ping, chairman of the SSA 2017 organising committee: "We are very proud of Team Singapore who have set a very high bar in sport excellence last year. Their outstanding achievements at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and world championships in bowling, cue sports, fencing, silat, wushu left many Singaporeans in awe and we look forward to recognising them at the Singapore Sports Awards.

"This year's celebrations signify 70 years of Olympism in Singapore, and we hope future generations of athletes can continue to breakthrough and accomplish greater achievements on the sporting stage."

The winners will be announced at the SSA presentation ceremony on Aug 8.

Here is the full list of finalists -

1. Sportsman of the Year: Peter Edward Gilchrist (cue sports), Shakir Juanda (silat), Joseph Isaac Schooling (swimming).

2. Sportswoman of the Year: Feng Tianwei (table tennis), New Hui Fen (bowling), Nurul Suhaila Saiful (silat), Jasmine Ser Xiang Wei (shooting).

3. Sportsboy of the Year: Bernie Chin Cheok Khoon (sailing), Malcolm Lai (wushu), Sheik Farhan Sheik Alau'ddin (silat).

4. Sportsgirl of the Year: Amabel Chua Jiaying (bowling), Lau Ywen (fencing), Cindy Lim Xin Yi (wushu)

5. Coach of the Year: Eddie Reese (swimming).

6. Team of the Year (Event): Canoe - Women's K2 500m (Stephenie Chen Jiexian, Geraldine Lee Wei Ling), Wushu - Women's Duilian (Fung Hui Xin, Emily Sin Min Li)

7. Best Sports Event of the Year (Local): Great Eastern Women's Run 2016, Osim Sundown Marathon 2016, Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore 2016 8. Best Sports Event of the Year (International): BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore Presented by SC Global, Fina/airweave Swimming World Cup 2016 Presented by Yakult, HSBC Singapore Rugby Sevens 2016.

9. Most Inspiring Sports Story of the Year: "Joseph Schooling Reminds Us Of What It Means To Be Singaporean" by Leslie Tan, Red Sports, "No Big Deal? Such Sporting Deeds Deserve Retelling" by Rohit Brijnath, The Straits Times, "Paralysed After Accident But Leow Just Kept On Running" by Low Lin Fhoong.

10. Best Sports Photo of the Year: Danny Toh Boon Tuan (A Division rugby semi-finals), Lim Wei Xiang (A Division girls' football third placing), Andy Chua (National Schools Swimming Championships), Desmond Foo (Lions Charity Show), Alvin Toh (Joseph and Colin Schooling hugging).