National track cyclist Mohd Azizulhasni Awang and national powerlifting athlete, Bonnie Bunyau Anak Gustin were each named the winners of the Athlete of the Year and the Para Athlete of the Year at the Sportswriters Association of Malaysia (SAM)–100PLUS Awards 2019.
The win for Azizulhasni is his third success Athlete of the Year Award after winning it in 2009 and 2017.
“I would like to thank the Sportswriters Association of Malaysia (SAM) for choosing me as the winner this year,” said Azizulhasni through a video recording from Melbourne, Australia.
“Of course, I will make this award as a source of motivation for my preparations for next year’s Olympic Games. It is going to be very challenging, but I will not give up as I aspire to deliver and realised the dream of the first gold medal for Malaysia.”
Azizul’s best achievement in 2019 was he took the title at the World Series track championship in Cambridge last December, beating former world champions Shane Perkins and Matthew Glaetzer.
In fact, the 32-year-old who is known as ‘The Pocket Rocketman’ also took the gold medal after winning the individual sprint event at the 2019 Asian Track Championship held in South Korea in October 2019.
Azizul took the Athlete of the Year award ahead of Farah Ann Abd Hadi (gymnastics), S. Kisona (badminton), ice skater Julian Yee and Loh Choon How (wushu).
Meanwhile, powerlifter Bonnie Bunyau Gustin broke the dominance of para-athletes from the track and field division to pick up the Para-Athlete of the Year Award 2019.
“I am truly grateful to SAM for this award. I did not expect to be selected to receive this award considering that the achievements of the other candidates were no less impressive,” said Bonnie, who is currently in Sarawak through a video recording.
“This award will certainly inject a new sense of confidence for me and my teammates to continue to raise the standard of para sports at the international level.”
The 20-year-old Sarawak-born athlete outscored three other shortlisted candidates – S. Suresh and Wiro Julin from archery and Muhd Ziyad Zolkefli from track and field.
Bonnie made history in Kazakhstan when he won two gold medals at the World Championships in Nur-Sultan.
Azizulhasni and Bonnie Bunyau each took home a trophy and a RM10,000 cash prize presented by Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican, Minister of Youth and Sports.
Royal Patron of SAM, His Royal Highness His Majesty the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong XVI Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah Ibni Almarhum Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah Al-Musta’in Billah is proud of the role of sports media in Malaysia in conveying authentic information to Malaysians in relation to the current success and development of national athletes other than playing a positive role in creating a spirit of unity and solidarity.
“I would like to congratulate the Sportswriters Association of Malaysia (SAM) on the success of organizing the SAM-100PLUS Awards ceremony in 2020 as well as continuing the tradition of organizing this prestigious event which was started way back in 1985.
“As a sports fan, I want people to appreciate the culture of sports and for them to make it part of our healthy lifestyle.”
His Majesty His Majesty the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong XVI Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah Ibni Almarhum Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah Al-Musta’in Billah delivered his speech through a video recording.
Other than giving recognition to athletes for their outstanding success throughout 2019, sports journalists also gained recognition with a total cash prize of more than RM50,000 at the SAM-100PLUS Awards ceremony.
The awards are divided into six categories – Best News Reports(Print Media), Best News Report (Electronic Media), Best News Review (Print Media), Best News Reviews (Electronic Media), Best Special Report (Open) and Best Sports Photography.
The best overall winner for the sports journalism category was also named the recipient of the Siebel Award with a cash prize of RM RM7,000 and a trophy.
LIST OF WINNERS
Best Athlete: Azizul Hasni Awang (Track Cyclist)
Best Paralympic Athlete: Bonnie Bunyau Anak Gustin (Powerlifting)
PREVIOUS WINNERS – ATHLETE OF THE YEAR
1995 – Cheah Soon Kit-Yap Kim Hock (Badminton)
1996 – Cheah Soon Kit-Yap Kim Hock (Badminton)
1997 – Nurul Huda Baharin (Shooting)
1998 – Lim KengLiat (Swimming)
1999-2001 – No Award
2002 – Lim Keng Liat (Swimming) and S.Premila (Karate-do)
2003 – Lim Keng Liat (Swimming)
2004 – Bryan Nikson Lomas (Diving)
2005 – Nicol Ann David (Squash)
2006 – Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong (Badminton)
2007 – Wong Mew Choo (Badminton)
2008 – Lee Chong Wei (Badminton)
2009 – Mohd Azizul Hasni Awang (Cyling)
2010 – Pandelela Rinong (Diving)
2011 – Nur Suryani Taibi (Shooting)
2012 – Pandelela Rinong (Diving)
2013 – Sazali Samad (Bodybuilding)
2014 – Nicol Ann David (Squash)
2015 – Pandelela Rinong (Diving)
2016 – Lee Chong Wei (Badminton)
2017 – Mohd Azizul Hasni Awang (Cyling)
2018 – Muhammad Rafiq Ismail (Tenpin Bowling)
PREVIOUS WINNERS – PARA-ATHLETE OF THE YEAR
2016 – Mohd Ridzuan Mohd Puzi (Athletics – T36 classification sprint)
2017 – Muhd Ziyad Zolkefli (Athletics – T20 classification shot putt)
2018 – Mohd Ridzuan Mohd Puzi (Athletics – T36 classification sprint)