SINGAPORE - Lau Ywen continues to make history by becoming the first fencer to win a major accolade at the Singapore Sports Awards on Tuesday (Aug 8) night at The Ritz-Carlton Millenia Singapore.
The 17-year-old won the Sportsgirl of the Year award, beating bowler Amabel Chua and wushu exponent Cindy Lim to the title.
She was honoured for her historic gold medal she won at the Junior and Cadet World Championships last April. Her cadet (Under-17) sabre gold was Singapore's first fencing title on the world stage.
The United World College of South-east Asia Grade 12 student said: "It feels great to be acknowledged for my achievements, it's like saying that what I'm doing did not go unappreciated.
"I hope it will inspire more fencers to compete."
She picked up a meritorious award at last year's Singapore Sports Awards.
Fencing Singapore president Juliana Seow said: "It's a major breakthrough for us. It shows that our talents are rising. Winning the world title was already a shock to the fencing community around the world, because nobody expected us to do it."
She added with a laugh as she admired the trophy while posing for a photo with Ywen: "I've never had a chance to hold this."
Even though Ywen, dressed in a red off-shoulder gown, could not stop smiling and posing for photos, it has been a rough year for her.
In late January, her back began to hurt everytime she lunged. In February, she discovered that she fractured her back, which ruled her out of competition.
But she resumed training last month and recently returned from a training camp in Hungary. She will be competing in her second SEA Games in the upcoming Aug 19-30 Kuala Lumpur Games.
She is not putting any pressure ahead of the SEA Games, for getting back to competition again is a relief for her.
She said: "It has been a big learning year for me. When you feel that you've made a mark at the European circuit and the World Championships, and then you suffer your biggest setback, when I had to be out of fencing for five months."
While Ywen was all smiles at the event, Sheik Farhan Sheik Alau'ddin cut a more solemn look even after beating sailor Bernie Chin and wushu exponent Malcolm Lai to win the Sportsboy of the Year award.
The 20-year-old two-time world silat champion said: "I'm still in shock. I thought I needed to win more major and bigger titles for me to win this award. After getting nominated last year but not winning it then, it feels sweet that I succeeded the second time.
"But my focus is still on the actual competition," added Farhan, who said he is confident that he will win his first SEA Games gold medal this month.