Monday February 27, 2012
Suryani bags Athlete of the Year award
By LIM TEIK HUAT
PETALING JAYA: Malaysia’s top woman rifle shooter and one of Asia’s best Nur Suryani Mohd Taibi hit the bull’s-eye again after she won the Sportswriters Association of Malaysia (SAM)-100PLUS Athlete Of The Year award for 2011 yesterday.
The 29-year-old was a surprise winner among the five national athletes shortlisted from an earlier list of 11 nominees.
Suryani’s most notable achievement last year was bagging two individual gold medals at the Indonesia SEA Games.
She sparked the gold rush for the nation by winning the women’s 10m air rifle and went on to add a second in the 50m rifle three-position days later.
Suryani recently became the first Malaysian woman rifle shooter to qualify on merit for the London Olympics after earning a quota spot at the Asian Shooting Championships in Doha for the women’s 10m air rifle.
Suryani, who took home RM10,000 and a crystal trophy, admitted the win was a big surprise to her as she was competing with the likes of world No. 1 Lee Chong Wei, world champion squash player Nicol David, cyclist Fatehah Mustapa and tenpin bowler Jacqueline Jenelee Sijore.
“I honestly didn’t expect to win this award as the other candidates were all very good. I didn’t even prepare any speech.
“This is one of the best moments of my career and I will treasure this award,” said Suryani, who was also picked as the Olympian of the Year last year.
Suryani was a bronze medallist at the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou and also claimed gold that same year at the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, partnering Nur Ayuni Farhana Halim for the air rifle pairs.
Several other award winners were revealed earlier this week with the Jakarta SEA Games football champions – the Malaysian Under-23 football team – winning the ‘Out-Do Yourself’ Award.
World and Asian junior badminton champion Zulfadli Zulkifli was named Best Young Athlete while Asian snooker champion Sam Chong and the Malaysian Tenpin Bowling Congress (MTBC) earned the nod for the Comeback Athlete and Most Dynamic Association awards respectively.