Singapore's sports champions set to light up ST Athlete of the Year ceremony today

The nominees for The Straits Times Athlete of the Year are (clockwise from top left) New Hui Fen, Yip Pin Xiu, Peter Gilchrist, Sheik Farhan Sheik Alau'ddin and Joseph Schooling.
The nominees for The Straits Times Athlete of the Year are (clockwise from top left) New Hui Fen, Yip Pin Xiu, Peter Gilchrist, Sheik Farhan Sheik Alau'ddin and Joseph Schooling. ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM, ST FILE

SINGAPORE - The who's who of Singapore sport will gather at One Farrer Hotel & Spa on Thursday (Feb 16) to honour Singapore's finest athletes over the past year.

By 1.30pm, one of five nominees will be crowned The Straits Times Athlete of the Year, an annual award launched in 2008. The award is backed by F&N's 100Plus.

This year's nominees feature outstanding performers in what was a glorious year for Singapore sport. Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu is the event's guest of honour.

The five nominees are: Joseph Schooling (swimming), Yip Pin Xiu (swimming), Peter Gilchrist (billiards), New Hui Fen (bowling) and Sheik Farhan Sheik Alau'ddin (silat).

Schooling, 21, dominated headlines last August when he won the Olympic 100m butterfly gold in a Games record time of 50.39sec. In doing so, he became Singapore's first Olympic champion, topping a race that included swimming great Michael Phelps.

The University of Texas student will be represented by his parents, Colin and May.

Yip, 25, kept up the momentum for Singapore sport when she won two golds medals (50m and 100m backstroke S2) at the Paralympics last September. She is now a three-time Paralympic champion, having won the50 m backstroke S3 gold at the 2008 Paralympics.

Gilchrist proved that age was no barrier when he won his fifth world title at the age of 48.He ousted former world champion Rupesh Shah at the IBSF World Billiards Championships final in December.

Bowler New Fui Fen, 25, broke new ground when she became the first Singaporean to win the prestigious Professional Women's Bowling Association Tour Championship last September.

Rounding up the nominations is silat exponent Sheik Farhan Sheik Alau'ddin. The 19-year-old successfully defended his world title at the World Pencak Silat Championships last December.