UWCSEA student wins Singapore Sportsgirl of the Year award
Grade 12 student, Ywen Lau is a national fencer and in 2016, she was the World Champion in Women's Sabre Cadet (U17); the first time that a South East Asian fencer won a medal at a world championship. It was quite a surprise for the fencing world, while quite a triumph, not just for Singapore, but for Southeast Asia too. Ywen had an outstanding year last year, winning a number of international and local championships at senior, junior (U20) and cadet (U17) levels, both individual and team.
In August 2017, at the SNOC Singapore Sports Awards Ceremony, it was announced that Ywen had been awarded the Singapore Sportsgirl of the Year title for 2017. The Sportsgirl award is for athletes under the age of 21.
Ywen and her Women's Sabre Cadet teammates were also awarded the 2017 Singapore Sportsgirl Team Meritorious Award, for winning the Asian title in 2016.
Ywen was also awarded the 2017 SNOC-Peter Lim High Performance Scholarship for a second consecutive year.
The four major sporting awards - for Sportsman, Sportswoman, Sportsboy and Sportsgirl - are bestowed by the Olympic Council and are the highest national awards an athlete can receive. It is not just an award for athletic achievement; sportsmanship, discipline and work ethic are also considered. It was stated in Parliament that the criteria include: the sporting achievements of the athlete, the level of and standard of competition, and whether the athlete has been an outstanding role model or if his performance was particularly inspiring to the nation. Standards for the top awards such as the Sportsman of the Year are high given the rising sporting standards and achievements in Singapore. In some years, some of the titles have not been awarded, if the SNOC (the Singapore National Olympic Council) is not satisfied that the criteria have been met.
Ywen has been at UWCSEA Dover Campus since K1 and has fenced since the age of 7. She was selected for the National team at the age of 12 and has been representing Singapore internationally ever since, in all three age categories (senior, junior (U20) and cadet (U17)), fencing anchor for all three teams since she was 14. Congratulations Ywen!
Update, 23 August 2017: Ywen went on to win the SEA Games 2017 individual sabre gold by beating Thailand's Pornsawan Ngernrungruangroj 15-12 in the final. Well done Ywen! Read the Straits Times article here.