KUALA LUMPUR (Jan 31): Track cyclist Datuk Mohd Azizulhasni Awang wrote a new chapter in the anals of Malaysian sports history by winning the 2021 National Sportsman award for the fifth time, here today.
In the National Sports Awards ceremony held at the National Sports Council (NSC) in Bukit Jalil, ‘The Pocket Rocketman’ added the crown to his tally of awards that he had won in 2009, 2010, 2017 and 2019/2020 to surpass the achievements of National badminton icons Datuk Lee Chong Wei and Datuk Rashid Sidek as well as bodybuilder Sazali Samad, who have all won the award four times respectively.
Mohd Azizulhasni’s notable achievement in 2021 was winning a silver medal in the men’s keirin event at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics as well as winning the Sprint event at the Elite Victoria Track Cycling Championships and a silver in the keirin event at the 2021 Victoria Championships in Australia.
The former world champion overcame shuttlers Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik who clinched a bronze medal at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics through the men’s doubles, Buda Anchah (bodybuilding), Ng Eain Yow (squash) and Syarifuddin Azman (motorsport).
National diving queen Datuk Pandelela Rinong was crowned the National Sportswoman for the fourth time with the previous awards coming in 2011, 2012 and 2015.
Pandelela, who was also the winner in 2011, 2012 and 2015 claimed the world title in the individual 10m platform at the 2021 World Diving championships in Japan to claim the award ahead of squash players Rachel Arnold and Aifa Azman, Meilaura Dora Jimmy (bodybuilding) and Nur Amisha Azrilrizal (Muaythai).
Powerlifting world record holder Bonnie Bunyau Gustin who swept the gold medal at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics was crowned as the National Paralympic Sportsman winner while swimmer Brenda Anellia Larry was named the National Paralympic Sportswoman.
The Sportsman, Sportswoman, Paralympic Sportsman, Paralympic Sportwoman awards winners received RM20,000 each, a trophy and certificates, respectively.
Meanwhile, Aaron-Wooi Yik who missed out on the National Sportsman award were named the 2021 Best Men’s Team while the women’s bowling squad comprising Natasha Mohamed Roslan, Faten Najihah Ahmad Faik, Siti Safiyah Amirah Abdul Rahman and Nur Syazwani Sahar were voted as the Best Women’s Team winners.
Apart from rewarding sportsmen and sportswomen, coaches and sports icons were also recognised during the National Sports Awards which was incepted in 1966 to reward athletes and officials who excelled in their respective fields.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim who attended the glittering ceremony later presented the awards to the winners in the presence of Youth and Sports Minister Hannah Yeoh, her deputy Adam Adli Abd Halim and NSC director-general Datuk Ahmad Shapawi Ismail.
Roll of Honours:
National Sportsman – Datuk Mohd Azizulhasni Awang (cycling)
National Sportswoman – Datuk Pandelela Rinong (diving)
National Paralympics Sportsman – Bonnie Bunyau Gustin (powerlifting)
National Paralympics Sportswoman – Brenda Anellia Larry (swimming)
Best Men’s Team: Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik (badminton)
Best Women’s Team: Natasha Mohamed Roslan, Faten Najihah Ahmad Faik, Siti Safiyah Amirah Abdul Rahman, Nur Syazwani Sahar (bowling)
Best Men’s Coach – Jamil Adam (powerlifting)
Best Women’s Coach – Wendy Chai De-Choo (bowling)
Sports Icon Award – Datuk Norminshah Sabirin
Sports Leadership Award – Huang Ying How
Special Awards – Mohd Zaki Abd Rahman, Subkhiddin Mohd Salleh, Chan Foong Keong. — Bernama