Straits Times correspondent receives Sports Journalist of the Year award after administrative error fixed

SportSG clarified that The Straits Times correspondent Sazali Abdul Aziz was the correct winner.
SportSG clarified that The Straits Times correspondent Sazali Abdul Aziz was the correct winner.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Sport Singapore apologised on Thursday (May 16) for an administrative error that led to the 2019 Singapore Sports Awards Sports Journalist of the Year being mistakenly given to the wrong writer.

At Tuesday's (May 14) ceremony at Orchard Hotel, The New Paper's sub-editor Dilenjit Singh was named the winner of the award, which comes with a trophy and cash prize of $2,000.

SportSG clarified that The Straits Times correspondent Sazali Abdul Aziz was the correct winner.

The national sports agency said in a statement that representatives from the judging panel had raised an alert of a possible mistake on Wednesday.

Upon investigation, SportSG confirmed the winning articles were matched to the wrong journalist.

It attributed this to an administrative error by one of its staff and noted the award ceremony's auditor, KPMG in Singapore, was not involved in this part of the process.

SportSG's deputy director for public relations S. Parameswaran said: "We sincerely apologise to Dilenjit and Sazali for the error. We congratulate Sazali on the well-deserved win."

Sazali, 31, joined ST in 2017. Before that, he was with TNP from 2010.

In 2018, he broke the news that the storied Farrer Park playing fields - the unofficial home of Singapore sport for decades from the 1960s - was slated for housing redevelopment. The story and video package evoked strong emotions from sports stakeholders.

 

He said: "It is always gratifying to receive recognition for your work, and I am grateful for the award. Having said that, Dilen is a close friend and it is difficult to find joy in a situation like this."

TNP editor Eugene Wee said: "It would have been nice if the error was spotted and corrected at the event itself rather than two days after, but we understand that mistakes happen and we congratulate TNP alumnus Sazali for his win."

The annual Sports Awards is jointly organised by SportSG and the Singapore National Olympic Council.

Among the main categories, swimmer Joseph Schooling won his sixth Sportsman of the Year while shooter Martina Veloso clinched the Sportswoman of the Year award.

The Sport Journalist of the Year award was introduced last year to recognise journalists who have consistently produced sports stories throughout the year which capture the positive values of sport, inspire Singaporeans to live more active lifestyles, with the goal of cultivating a Singapore spirit through sports.

Besides Sazali and Dilenjit, this year's other nominees were Nicole Chia (ST), Kimberly Kwek (formerly at TNP) and Matthew Mohan (CNA).