Chee and Hui are ST Athlete of the Year winners
Para-paddler Chee beats swimmer Joseph Schooling and others to top award
Nothing seems to break national para-paddler Jason Chee's resolve.
Not the loss of his legs, left arm, three fingers on his right hand due to a mishap at work or his right eye to cancer.
The 35-year-old had overcome those adversities to emerge champion in the men's individual Class 2 at last year's Asean Para Games. That took his Asean Para Games medal tally to three with his other two medals - a bronze and silver - from the 2014 edition.
Chee's overcoming those odds earned him The Straits Times' Athlete of the Year 2017 award in the ceremony at Mandarin Orchard in the presence of guest of honour, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu yesterday.
In her speech before the winners were announced, Minister Fu addressed the nominees, saying: "You had displayed sporting excellence by winning medals and setting new records at international events.
"You have shown incredible sportsmanship and resilience by bouncing back from setbacks, from injury and overcoming challenges."
That summed up aptly what the two winners went through.
Chee was teary-eyed when his name was announced.
Returning to table tennis after surgery to remove his right eye last June was not easy, but Chee showed his strength to his coach, teammates, parents and supporters.
He had not expected himself to come out on top against the other nominees: swimmer Joseph Schooling, ice skater Cheyenne Goh, boxer Muhamad Ridhwan and bowler Shayna Ng.
He said: "I am the smallest giant among the five athletes, but I want to thank ST for giving me this award."
ST Young Athlete of the Year award inaugural winner, Justin Hui, 20, also overcame disappointment.
He was recognised for helping Meridian Junior College's (MJC) football team in the National School Games, where he captained his team and scored a hat-trick in the final against Victoria Junior College, steering them to their fourth successive A Division title.
He had previously been nominated for the TNP Dollah Kassim Award in 2015 and 2016.
He said: "Twice I missed out, so I'm very happy to finally get an award. It's a recognition of my hard work."