Schooling wins record fourth Sportsman of the Year gong
But this is the first time that the Olympic champion has received his award in person
Swimmer Joseph Schooling has won the Sportsman of the Year accolade for a record fourth time on Tuesday night (Aug 8), but the ceremony this year was extra special for the 22-year-old.
"This is the first time I am here in person, and I think that made it that much more special... it definitely feels a lot different than being on Skype, that's for sure," said Singapore's first-ever Olympic champion, at the sidelines of the award ceremony at the Ritz Carlton hotel.
"The emotions are heightened, the enjoyment of winning this award is heightened," said the butterfly king, who has been based in the US for studies and training for the last eight years.
Schooling is also only the second person to win the award three times in a row. Swimmer Ang Peng Siong won the Sportsman of the Year award between 1983 and 1985.
Bowler New Hui Fen received the Sportswoman of the Year gong, succeeding 2016 winner and teammate Shayna Ng.
For New, 25, her award comes after a successful 2016 season, where she was named the Rookie of the Year by the Professional Women's Bowling Tour and clinched silver at the World Singles Bowling Championships.
She said: "I am very grateful for this award, especially for my parents, who have been supporting me through all the ups and downs. It is very tough to be in a team where my teammates are so talented and competitive, and so when the chance came, I just had to take it."
Meanwhile, Sheik Farhan Sheik Alau'ddin became the first silat exponent, since Mohd Saifuddin Mohd Julaimi in 2005, to win the Sportsboy of the Year award.
The 19-year-old two-time world champion said: "I think this (award) is motivation for me to do better, this is good for my teammates and good for silat; people can see that if they work hard enough they can receive rewards too."
Fencer Ywen Lau became the first person in her sport to win any of the four major accolades at the Singapore Sports Awards - Sportsman, Sportswoman, Sportsboy and Sportsgirl of the Year - when she received the Sportsgirl of the Year gong.
The 17-year-old was the first South-east Asian fencer to win a medal at the Junior and Cadet World Fencing Championships, when she won the cadet sabre gold in 2016.
She said: "I am really excited and really happy, I didn't expect to win because the other two girls in my category were also very strong at the world championship levels. It (the award) really motivates me and makes me want to do more for Singapore."
The awards ceremony and dinner also served to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC), and was graced by Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security Teo Chee Hean, Minister for Social and Family Development and SNOC president Tan Chuan-Jin, and Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu.
Sportsman of the Year: Joseph Schooling (Swimming)
Sportswoman of the Year: New Hui Fen (Bowling)
Sportsboy of the Year: Sheik Farhan Sheik Alau'ddin (Silat)
Sportsgirl of the Year: Ywen Lau (Fencing)
Coach of the Year: Eddie Reese (Swimming)
Team of the Year: Women's K2 500m pair of Stephenie Chen and Geraldine Lee (Canoeing)
Best Sports Photo of the Year: Danny Toh
Most Inspiring Sports Story of the Year: "No Big Deal? Such Sporting Deeds Deserve Retelling" by Rohit Brijnath, The Straits Times
Best Sports Event of the Year (International): HSBC Singapore Rugby Sevens 2016
Best Sports Event of the Year (Local): Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore 2016