Loh Jia Yi was named Sailor of the Year at the Singapore Sailing Federation's annual awards gala dinner on Saturday. He beat three other nominees: Bertha Han, Ryan Teo and Edward Tan.
The 16-year-old is the reigning world Optimist champion, after becoming the first local boy to win the crown at Lake Garda in Italy last year. He emerged tops from a field of 259 international sailors, winning six out of 10 races.
He also teamed up with Bertha, Edward, Koh Yi Kun and Fathin Rasyiqin Mohd Firdaus to win the team title at the world regatta. They were awarded the Team of the Year award.
The Optimist is a youth sailing class for sailors aged 15 and under. Jia Yi now competes in the 420, a double-handed dinghy.
Optimist coach Fernando Alegre was awarded Coach of the Year at the event, which was also attended by Acting Minister of Manpower Tan Chuan-Jin and International Olympic Committee member Ng Ser Miang.
Mr Tan, in his address at the Laguna National Golf and Country Club, urged the sailors to look beyond just excelling in their sport: "I hope that in your small ways, as sportsmen at large, see yourselves as ambassadors of sport and role models who can make a difference to society."
Winners of SSF Annual Awards Gala Dinner: Loh Jia Yi (Sailor of the Year), Muhammad Daniel Kei Yazid (Rookie of the Year), Marsha Shahrin (Most Improved Sailor of the Year), Raffles Marina (Club of the Year), Fernando Alegre (Coach of the Year), Kevin Daniel Quek (Club Coach of the Year), 2013 World Optimist Champion Team (Team of the Year), Selvam Mookken (Official of the Year), Daryl Chan (Volunteer of the Year).