KUALA LUMPUR, April 9 (Bernama) -- Doha Asian Games badminton doubles gold medallist Koo Kien Keat/Tan Boon Heong and world's women number one squash player Nicol Ann David are expected to win the National Sportsman and Sportswoman Award for 2006.
The three athletes are among eight candidates in the final list for the two top awards for last year.
The other athletes in the list for the sportsman category are Safuan Sahid (lawn bowls), Sazali Samad (bodybuilding) and Alex Liew Kien Liang (bowling).
The other women candidates are Chai Fong Ying (wushu), Esther Cheah Mei Lian (bowling) and Siti Zalina Ahmad (lawn bowls).
The 2006 National Sportsman and Sportswoman will be announced tomorrow night at the National Sports Award 2006 Night to be held at the Stadium Juara, Bukit Kiara, near here. The winner for each category will receive RM10,000.
The award winners will receive their awards from the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin. Raja Permaisuri Agong Tuanku Nur Zahirah will also attend the function.
Kien Keat and Boon Heong are not expected to face any serious challenge for the award based on their gold medal feat at the Doha Asian Games in December last year.
The shuttlers' closest rival for the award is Sazali, the 2000 National Sportsman Award winner who was also nominated for the award in 2003, 2004 and 2005.
The 40-year-old policeman had won the gold medal at the World Bodybuilding Championship in the Czech Republic and the silver medal at the Doha Asian Games last year.
As for Nicol, the national squash queen's performance in the sport cannot be disputed.
The 23-year-old Penang-born athlete had won the National Sportswoman Award in 1999, 2003 and 2005.
Nicol was the first national athlete to win the World Championship twice in a row and had also won the gold medal at the Doha Asian games.
Nicol's closest rival for the award would probably be national bowler Esther Cheah.
The 21-year-old bowler had won two gold medals and contributed to Malaysia's haul of three silver medals at the Doha Asian Games.
Besides the National Sportsman and Sportswoman Awards, tomorrow night's event will also see the selection of the National Paralympic Sportsman and Sportswoman who will also receive RM10,000 each.