Singapore swimmer Joseph Schooling continued his habit of creating history yesterday when he became the first person to win The Straits Times Athlete of the Year award twice.
The 21-year-old, the 2014 winner, is also the first to win with a unanimous vote. This year's other nominees included Yip Pin Xiu (swimming), Peter Gilchrist (billiards), New Hui Fen (bowling) and Sheik Farhan Sheik Alau'ddin (silat).
The University of Texas student, who joined the ceremony at One Farrer Hotel and Spa via a live Skype feed, said: "I am very fortunate to win this award. I couldn't have done it without my parents, close friends and support group. Thank you for sticking with me through thick and thin."
The swimmer's parents Colin and May received the trophy on his behalf from Ms Grace Fu, the Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, at a ceremony attended by some 150 guests.
The event drew VIPs from the local sport scene, including chairman of sport governing body Sport Singapore Richard Seow, SportSG chief executive Lim Teck Yin and Singapore Sports Hub CEO Manu Sawhney.
Also in attendance were student athletes from several schools, including the Singapore Sports School and Damai Secondary.
Schooling lit up 2016 when he won the nation's first Olympic gold.
Ms Fu called him a star and commended him for staying humble despite collecting award after award.
The ST award, into its ninth edition, is sponsored by 100Plus. Previous winners included swimmer Tao Li (2008), badminton player Fu Mingtian (2011) and Yip (2015).