Ng On-yee right on cue to pot the biggest prize of them all in Monday night’s ‘Oscars’
Snooker player set to win her first Best of the Best of the Year at annual prize presentation with two world titles in 2015
It has been six years in a row for cycling and it seems it’s time for change at the Sports Stars Awards presentation, the annual “Oscars” for Hong Kong’s top athletes.
A medal from major games such as the Asiad or Olympics is usually the yardstick of success for Hong Kong athletes aiming to win the top honour, but in an odd number year before the Olympic Games, a convincing result at the world championships can also do the job.
At Monday night’s annual Sports Stars Awards presentation at Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wan Chai, track cycling star Sarah Lee Wai-sze, who has won the Samsung “Best of the Best” Sports Stars Award over the last three years (2012-2014), is, however, unlikely to extend her reign.
Her 2015 track world championships results at the Velodrome de Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines in the southwest suburbs of Paris are something Lee would like to forget as soon as possible.
Snooker player Ng On-yee, has, therefore, emerged the favourite for the top award for her achievement at two world championships. In April, she was crowned the 2015 women’s snooker world champion, ending a 10-year reign by Reanne Evans of England in the penultimate stage before beating another English player, Emma Bonney in the final. Four months later, at the world event hosted by the International Billiards and Snooker Federation, Ng defeated India’s Vidya Pillai in the World 6Reds Championship to clinch her second world title of the year.
WATCH: Snooker world champion Hong Kong's Zoe Ng On-yee on how it all got started
“She had a great 2015 which makes her a standout among her fellow Hong Kong athletes,” said a source close to the award organisers. “Ng also led the public voting, which means her achievement resonated among the community. Without the Asian and the Olympic Games, results at individual sport world championships always count.”
It will be unusual not to have a cyclist feature prominently at the Sports Stars Awards presentation. Other than Lee as the winner for the last three years, Wong Kam-po, possibly the best known athlete in Hong Kong in the last decade, also took the top honour three times – 2006, 2007, 2010 since the “best of the best” award was re-introduced in 2006.
In between, BMX rider Steven Wong and another track cyclist Kwok Ho-ting, the men’s scratch race world champion in 2011, also made it to the top of the podium. The disgraced Steven Wong, who won his fourth consecutive Asian Championships title in 2009, was, however, later suspended for two years due to a doping violation after he turned into a road race rider in 2011.
There are 34 candidates nominated by their respective sports associations for the 2015 awards. Eight of them will be selected as sports star of the year after a tally of votes from the public, the media and a judging panel. The athlete achieving the highest number of ballots will be crowned the “Best of the Best” of 2015.
Although cyclist Lee did not win a medal at the world championships, she is a strong contender for the eight sports stars of the year because of good results at the World Cup series. Other favourites for the eight winners will be Asian gymnastics champion Shek Wai-hung, shuttler Hu Yun, a top-10 player in the world, tenpin bowler Wu Siu-hong, the first Hong Kong player to win the World Cup and wushu double world champion Geng Xiaoling.
The two remaining spots are likely to go to disabled athletes – Wong Ka-man in table tennis and Chan Ho-yin in badminton.
Other award categories to be presented at the ceremony will include the Junior Sports Stars, Potential Sports Stars, Team Sport, Team Event (two recipients) and Sportsmanship award.
The Hong Kong men’s soccer team, who achieved one of their most successful results in the World Cup qualification tournament by twice holding the “Big Brother” China across the border, both at the home and away ties, are set to win the team sport category, while tenpin bowler Wu, who overcame cancer to win the 2015 World Cup, is favoured to capture the Sportsmanship Award.