Swimming and bowling emerged the biggest winners at the Singapore Sports Awards last night, with each sport claiming three awards, including the top accolades.
Star swimmer Joseph Schooling captured his third Sportsman of the Year award, on a night in which his teammate Quah Zheng Wen won the Sportsboy of the Year award and coach Sergio Lopez took home the Coach of the Year accolade.
Bowlers Shayna Ng, 26, and Joey Yeo, 18, won the Sportswoman of the Year and Sportsgirl of the Year awards respectively. Ng won the All-Events title at the World Women's Championships while Yeo won the women's title at the World Bowling Open. Ng, Cherie Tan and New Hui Fen were given the Team of the Year (Event) honour for winning a trios silver at last year's World Women's Championships.
Said Schooling, who is currently in the United States preparing for August's Rio Olympics: "I'm glad that my hard work paid off. It's been a long journey and it's never easy. We always want to be among the best and be the best. The awards give us a boost."
The 21-year-old was honoured for a stellar 2015, in which he not only delivered nine golds at the SEA Games but also became the first Singapore swimmer to win a medal at the Fina World Championships, taking home a bronze.
Quah, 19, was recognised for winning 12 SEA Games medals, seven of them gold.
The awards were handed out by Minister for Social and Family Development and Singapore National Olympic Council president Tan Chuan-Jin and Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu in front of more than 700 members of the sports fraternity at Raffles City Convention Centre.
The Straits Times also picked up an award for Most Inspiring Sports Story of the Year, the paper's third recognition since its inception in 2012.
Sports columnist Rohit Brijnath's story in the Nov 22 edition of The Sunday Times, titled "On his travels, patience is the greatest weapon", tells the story of para-athlete Eric Ting, a table tennis player who participated in last year's Asean Para Games.
For the article, Mr Brijnath travelled with Mr Ting, a 2008 Paralympian in wheelchair racing, on MRT trains, seeking to understand the hurdles the wheelchair-racer- turned-paddler faced while training for the Asean Para Games.
Said Mr Brijnath, 53: "I'm honoured to win this award, but particularly pleased that it was for this story. Because Eric Ting is one of the most remarkable and courageous athletes that I have ever met."