By ILONA ANDREW
KOTA KINABALU: Rayzam Shah Wan Sofian, who was announced as Sabah’s best male athlete for the year 2017/2018, says the award will spur him to defend the gold in the 110m hurdles at December’s Sea Games in Manila.
He said he had been training very hard to defend his title and was confident that he can pull off victory again.
The 31-year old Rayzam, together with Sabah national archer Fatin Nurfateha Mat Salleh bagged the best female athlete award on Tuesday night.
They both took home RM5,000 cash, a blazer, and a trophy which were presented by Head of State Tun Dr. Haji Juhar Datuk Haji Mahiruddin during the Sabah Sports Award Ceremony 2017/2018.
Rayzam took the accolade for his achievement in the 29th South East Asian (SEA) Games two years ago in Kuala Lumpur, winning a gold medal.
The athlete from Keningau has also participated in various international championships such as the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games 2018.
He also broke a 23-year national record for the 110-meter hurdles event in the 2018 Weinheim Kurpfalz Gala Championship in Germany.
Speaking to reporters after the event, Rayzam said: ” I will do my best to defend the gold title.”
According to him, he will train in Manila, Philippines for final preparations.
Meanwhile, Fatin showed an outstanding achievement during the 2017 SEA Games by winning two gold and one silver medals where she was ranked number one.
She was also ranked the fourth individual in the Archery Asia Cup World Ranking Tournament in Thailand, and has participated in the 2018 Hyundai Archery World Cup (Stage 2) in China and the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta and Palembang.
The best male and female Paralympic athlete awards were respectively bagged by Eddy Bernard and Doriah Poulus.
The best men and women team awards were awarded to the 2018 Sukma Perak men’s hockey and women’s takraw teams, respectively.
Diving athlete Gabriel Gilbert Daim received the most promising sportsman award while Nor Farah Mazlan, a silat athlete was announced as the most promising sportswoman.
Sabah Muaythai coach Cyrille Dhillon Tahing received the best sports coaching award.
The best sports association awards were given to the Sabah State Gymnastics Association.
President of the Muaythai Association of Malaysia Nazri Ab. Razak was named recipient of a sports leadership award.
David Wang Chung Vun, President of the Malaysian Shorinji Kempo Association was named ‘Tokoh Sukan Sabah’.
Speaking earlier at the ceremony, Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Haji Mohd Shafie Apdal said that the Warisan-led government will ensure that besides providing its best support and initiatives in the industry, sports facilities in this state will also be improved.
He also said that sports, besides serving as a platform of unity among the people, will also allow athletes to generate money.
“Sports not only can (help athletes) generate money, it can also serve as a platform for athletes to become entrepreneurs, supplying sports facilities that are difficult to obtain in the state,” he noted.