Even though it has been a rough year so far for Lau Ywen, she continued to make history last night by becoming the first fencer to win a major accolade at the Singapore Sports Awards.
The 17-year-old won the Sportsgirl of the Year award, honoured for being the first fencer from South-east Asia to win the world title at the Junior and Cadet World Fencing Championships last April. The United World College of South-east Asia Grade 12 student beat bowler Amabel Chua and wushu exponent Cindy Lim to win the trophy.
She 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 inspires more fencers."
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, nobody expected us to do it."
Even though Ywen, dressed in a red off-shoulder gown, was a winner last night, it has been a tough first half of the year for her.
In February, she discovered that she fractured her back, which has ruled her out of competition since then. After resuming training last month, she will be returning to competition at the SEA Games later this month.
She said: "It has been a big learning year for me. When you feel that you're doing well, then to suffer your biggest setback, (it's tough)."
While she was all smiles at the event, Sheik Farhan Sheik Alau'ddin cut a more solemn look after beating sailor Bernie Chin and wushu exponent Malcolm Lai to win the Sportsboy of the Year award.
The 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."
"But my focus is still on the actual competition," added the 19-year-old, who is confident that he will win his first SEA Games gold medal in Kuala Lumpur.