Azalina, who was nominated for the award by the Women, Sports and Fitness Foundation of Malaysia (WSFFM), received her award from Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) President, Tunku Imran Tuanku Jaafar.
More than 700 guests’ attended the Fifth Women and Sport Awards Ceremony, held at the OCM’s Indoor Sports Arena in Kuala Lumpur.
Among the other nominees for the Women and Sport Award were Chee Shin Lim of the Table Tennis Association of Malaysia and Normala Rashid from the Perak Women’s Football Association.
“The selection committee chose Azalina based on her tremendous contribution towards Women and Sports in Malaysia. She is among the founders of the Women, Sports and Fitness Foundation of Malaysia (WSFFM),” said OCM Vice President, Low Beng Choo.
The award, which is an initiative by the OCM’s Women in Sport Committee, has become increasingly popular in recent years with more sports bodies, government agencies and non-governmental organisations sending nominations for the various categories of awards.
“This year we received 27 nominations for the three categories. Besides the main award, the other two awards are for Women and Sport for Grassroots Development and Women and Sport for Community Development,” said Beng Choo.
Also, this year the Women and Sport Committee introduced a new award – Women and Sport Partnership Award – which is designed to give recognition to persons who have contributed to bring success to women athletes or teams.
Ee Phoeh Hoon, who started the Squash Rackets Association of Penang’s Junior Development Program in 1988, was selected as the winner of the Women and Sport Grassroots Development Award.
“That program became an effective vehicle for talent identification and Penang has since become a regular reservoir for national athletes. The David sisters, Lianne Cheryl and the more illustrious Nicol were the products of this program,” added Beng Choo.
The Women and Sport Award for Community Development was won by Kok Mong Lin, an educator, trainer, coach and technical official who, for years been taking rhythmic gymnastics to the community.
“She has contributed immensely in producing coaches for general gymnastics and also in the promotion of kindergym,” explained Beng Choo.
Meanwhile, two men were among the award winners. Tan See Wah and Tan Wah Heng, both from basketball, were the reciepients of the Women and Sport Partnership Award.Tan See Wah, a former national basketball player, has been extremely sucessful as Malaysia’s women’s team coach, winning five international championships.
Then, with Wah Heng as the team manager, the popular duo have produced another three gold medal winning teams in three SEA Games.
According to Beng Choo, the idea for these awards came about when the International Olympic Committee (IOC) invited OCM to nominate a person or an organisation for the IOC Women Women and Sport Trophy in 2001.
“Malaysia has a fair number of women achievers in sport or sports related activities. Whilst there are awards for recognition of accomplished athletes and leading personalities, many women coaches and sports administrators, and their work at the grassroots level may have gone unrecognised,” added Beng Choo.- Malaysian today