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Blunder! SportSG hands Sports Journalist of the Year award to the wrong man

An administrative error, SportSG said, caused the winning article to be attributed to the wrong journalist

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Singapore — Two days after having announced The New Paper’s Dilenjit Singh as Sports Journalist of the Year, Sport Singapore (SportSG) had to backtrack and say that the winner should have been Straits Times reporter Sazali Abdul Aziz.

An administrative error, SportSG said, caused the winning article to be attributed to the wrong journalist.

The award was meant to honour the journalist’s contribution towards local sport for 2018, and was mistakenly awarded to Mr Dilenjit on Tuesday, May 14, at the annual Singapore Sports Awards ceremony held at Orchard Hotel Singapore, along with a trophy and a cash prize of S$2,000.

By Wednesday, SportSG was told that it may have made an error by representatives of the judging panel. When the matter was looked into further, Sport SG, which is under the Ministry of Culture, Community, and Youth (MCCY), confirmed that it had indeed made a mistake.

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The organisation said, “This was an administrative error by a member of the SportSG staff. The award ceremony’s auditor, KPMG in Singapore, was not involved in this part of the process.”

Yahoo News Singapore reported the source as saying that it was an intern at SportSG who had actually made the mistake.

S Parameswaran, the SportSG’s deputy director of public relations, said, “We sincerely apologise to Dilenjit and Sazali for the error. We congratulate Sazali on the well-deserved win.”

The Straits Times reported Mr Sazali as saying, “It is always gratifying to receive recognition for your work, and I am grateful for the award. Having said that, Dilen is a close friend, and it is difficult to find joy in a situation like this.”

Eugene Wee, the editor of The New Paper, also congratulated Mr Sazali. “It would have been nice if the error had been spotted and corrected at the event itself rather than two days after, but we understand that mistakes happen and we congratulate TNP alumnus Sazali for his win.”

The other nominees for Sports Journalist of the Year were Straits Times’ Nicole Chia, Channel NewsAsia’s Matthew Mohan, and Nicole Chia, who also writes for The New Paper.

Here is the complete list of Singapore Sports Awards 2019 awardees:

  • Best Sports Event of the Year (International): Fina Swimming World Cup Singapore 2018
  • Best Sports Event of the Year (Local): M1 Asian Netball Championship 2018
  • Team of the Year (Team Sport): Floorball men’s team
  • Team of the Year (Event): Nur Azlyana Ismail, Nurhanishah Shahrudin (silat)
  • Sportsboy/Sportsgirl Team of the Year: Choo Yi Xuan and Kyra Poh (indoor skydiving)
  • Best Sports Photo of the Year: Lim Weixiang
  • Sports Journalist of the Year: Sazali Abdul Aziz (Straits Times)
  • Coach of the Year: Sheik Alau’ddin Yaacob Marican (silat)
  • Sportsboy of the Year: Muhammad Hazim Yusli (silat)
  • Sportsgirl of the Year: Constance Lien (jiu-jitsu)
  • Sportsman of the Year: Joseph Schooling (swimming)
  • Sportswoman of the Year: Martina Veloso (shooting)/ TISG
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