PETALING JAYA: Squash queen and world number one Datuk Nicol David and bodybuilder Sazali Abd Samad who has won numerous Mr Universe titles were Tuesday crowned National Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year at the 2014 National Sportsman Awards.
Nicol set a new perfect record in the annals of Malaysian sports by winning the National Sportswoman of the Year award for the 10th time while Sazali won it for the fourth time.
The Penangite who also holds the record for the most successful sports personality in the country had won the award in 1999, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2013.
Two other women who have won the award on multiple occasions were swimmer Nurul Huda Abdullah from 1985 to 1989 (five times) and bowler Shalin Zulkifli in 1994, 1996, 1997, 2001 and 2002.
On the world stage, Nicol, 31, has also set an unprecedented record of remaining as the world number one for 108 months and by the looks of her performance, would continue to rule the international squash scene for a few more years.
“Thank you for selecting me once again as National Sportswoman. I am looking forward to do more this year,” said Nicol through a recorded video clip.
Her father Desmond David collected the award on her behalf.
Sazali, a sub-inspector in the police force had also won the award in 2006, 2010 and 2013, thus giving bodybuilding a podium finish since Datuk Malek Noor set the tone by winning the award in 1986.
The cop is no stranger to titles since he has won the Mr Universe titles a record 10 times, the last being the World Body Building Championships in Mumbai, India, last December.
“This award will motivate me to continue working hard for success. This success did not come the easy way since hard work, a high level of commitment, discipline and physical condition is needed,” he said.
The awards which were handed out by Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamuluddin Abu Bakar came with RM20,000 cash, a blazer and two business class flight tickets to Australia, sponsored by Malaysia Airlines (MAS).
Meanwhile, the late Mohd Azlan Mat Lazim and Siti Nooriasah Mohamad Ariffin were crowned National Paralympic Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year.
Mohd Azlan, 25 who was killed in a road accident in January had won three gold medals at the Asian Para Games in Incheon, South Korea last October from the men’s 100m (T36), 200m (T36) and 400m (T36).
Siti Nooriasah, 26, contributed a gold medal in Incheon through the women’s 400m (T20) and a silver medal from the High jump (T20).
The National Coach of the Year award went to R. Jaganathan from athletics, the current Paralympics athletics team head coach.