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National footballer Safuwan Baharudin is The Straits Times Athlete of the Year

Soccer star is the first male winner and first individual from a team sport

Singapore, 28 February 2014 — Singapore's national footballer Safuwan Baharudin was named The Straits Times Athlete of the Year, at an awards ceremony held at the Grand Copthorne Waterfront today. 

The award, presented annually by The Straits Times, the English flagship daily of Singapore Press Holdings, honours the athlete who made the greatest sporting impact last year and pays tribute to outstanding Singapore athletes whose individual and collective triumphs and achievements lifted the Singapore sports scene in 2013.

Safuwan Baharudin, 22, a centre-back with the LionsXII and the Singapore national football team was pivotal in helping the LionsXII clinch the Malaysian Super League championship last year. A steady influence at the back, Safuwan also chipped in with crucial goals which led to the LionsXII bringing home Singapore's first Malaysian league title since 1994. The feat was even more remarkable considering that the team was an all-Singaporean team with an average age of just 22 years. But his accomplishments did not end there. After a long season with the LionsXII, Safuwan helped guide the national Under-23 team to a SEA Games bronze medal at the Myanmar Games last year.

The award was presented to Safuwan by Mr Lawrence Wong, Acting Minister for Culture, Community and Youth and Senior Minister of State for Communications and Information, who was the Guest-of-Honour at the event. 

The other three nominees were Peter Gilchrist (Billiards), Joseph Schooling (Swimming) and Dipna Lim-Prasad (Athletics).

Mr Marc Lim, Sports Editor of The Straits Times, said: "All four nominees are winners in their own right and the judging panel had a tough time debating why one outstanding athlete stood out from the other. In the end, the amazing consistency that Safuwan showed match after match, tournament after tournament, made him a worthy winner. 

"He helped make Singapore football part of the Singapore sporting conversation again. The buzz he and his teammates created with their brand of football made Jalan Besar the place to be on a Saturday night. Football fever was back and it was contagious.

"It is always hard to single out an individual in a team sport. But Safuwan's assured performances at both ends of the field, for club and country, is why his accomplishments shine just that much brighter than his peers."

Previous winners of The Straits Times Athlete of the Year are:

  • Laurentia Tan (2012)
  • Fu Mingtian (2011)
  • Women's Table Tennis Team (2010)
  • Quah Ting Wen (2009)
  • Tao Li (2008)

This year's panel of distinguished judges was made up of sports officials, past and present national athletes, as well as sports journalists. They are:

1) Marc Lim, Sports Editor, The Straits Times
2) Jean Ng, Former national netballer
3) Low Teo Ping, Vice-President, Singapore National Olympic Council
4) Ronald Susilo, Former national badminton player
5) Lim Heem Wei. National gymnast
6) Chia Han Keong, Assistant Sports Editor, The Straits Times 
7) Rohit Brijnath, Correspondent, The Straits Times 
8) Wang Meng Meng, Correspondent, The Straits Times

The Straits Times Athlete of the Year is sponsored by title sponsor 100PLUS since the award's inception in 2009. 

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For more information, please contact:

Adrian Cheong

Corporate Communications & CSR
Singapore Press Holdings Ltd
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About The Straits Times

The Straits Times, the English flagship daily of SPH, has been serving readers for more than a century. Launched on July 15, 1845, its comprehensive coverage of world news, East Asian news, Southeast Asian news, home news, sports news, financial news and lifestyle updates makes The Straits Times the most-read newspaper in Singapore. Quality news, in-depth analyses, impactful commentaries and breaking stories are packaged to give readers riveting accounts of events in Singapore, the region, and beyond. 

The Straits Times' key strength is in its world class coverage of news outside Singapore. With 20 bureaus in major cities around the world, The Straits Times correspondents bring world news to readers on a Singapore platter, helping them appreciate world events from a Singaporean perspective. 

In keeping with the times, The Straits Times carries weekly supplements such as Digital Life (DL), Urban and Mind Your Body (MYB) to complement The Straits Times as well as IN and Little Red Dot to cater to young readers in schools. Its many efforts have won multiple international awards from the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers, as well as the Pacific Area Newspaper Publishers' Association.

The Straits Times also has an online presence at The site features top stories, blogs and online forum threads. Also under The Straits Times' umbrella are citizen journalism site Stomp and online television service The Straits Times RazorTV.

The Straits Times has won many accolades and awards, including being named Singapore Newspaper of the Year 2013 by Marketing magazine and voted Singapore’s favourite newspaper 2013 by Superbrands. The Straits Times’ website also won gold in “Best In Online Media” at the 2012 Wan-Ifra Asian Digital Media Awards. 

About Singapore Press Holdings Ltd

Incorporated in 1984, main board-listed Singapore Press Holdings Ltd (SPH) is Asia’s leading media organisation, engaging minds and enriching lives across multiple languages and platforms.

Newspapers, Magazines and Book Publishing 

SPH has 19 titles licensed under the Newspaper Printing and Presses Act, of which nine are daily newspapers across four languages. On an average day, 3.05 million individuals or 76 per cent of people above 15 years old, read one of SPH's news publications. SPH also publishes and produces more than 100 magazine titles in Singapore and the region, covering a broad range of interests from lifestyle to information technology. SPH's subsidiaries, Straits Times Press and Focus Publishing, produce quality books and periodicals in English and Chinese.

Internet and Mobile

Beyond print, SPH's suite of digital products, including online editions of newspapers and magazines, as well as mobile applications, enjoy over 400 million page views with 20 million unique visitors every month. Apart from AsiaOne, SPH’s online and new media initiatives include ST701, the leading online marketplace for jobs (STJobs), property (STProperty), cars (STCars) and general classifieds (STClassifieds); Stomp, and The Straits Times RazorTV. SPH also launched The Straits Times’ iPad and enhanced iPhone applications, an Android smartphone application and The Business Times’ iPhone application. SPH’s Chinese flagship newspaper Lianhe Zaobao has also launched its digital editions which include a web application, as well as online and PDF versions.


In the radio business, SPH Radio Pte Ltd operates entertainment stations UFM 100.3 in Mandarin, as well as Kiss92 and HOT FM91.3 in English. SPH has a 20 per cent stake in MediaCorp TV Holdings Pte Ltd, which operates free-to-air channels 5, 8 and U, and a 40 per cent stake in MediaCorp Press Limited, which publishes the free newspaper, Today. 

Events and Out-of-Home Advertising

SPH’s events arm Sphere Exhibits organises innovative consumer and trade events and exhibitions as well as large scale conferences in Singapore and the region. In addition, SPH has ventured into out-of-home (OOH) advertising through its digital out-of-home platform SPHMBO. 


SPH REIT is a Singapore-based REIT established principally to invest, directly or indirectly, in a portfolio of income-producing real estate which is used primarily for retail purposes in Asia-Pacific, as well as real estate-related assets. SPH REIT is managed by SPH REIT Management Pte. Ltd., which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Singapore Press Holdings Limited. 

The initial portfolio of SPH REIT comprises the following two high quality and well located commercial properties in Singapore:

· Paragon, a premier upscale retail mall and medical suite/office property, well known for its upscale mall housing many luxury brands, located in the heart of Orchard Road; and
· The Clementi Mall, a mid-market suburban mall located in the centre of Clementi town, an established residential estate in the west of Singapore. 

The Seletar Mall is SPH's latest retail development and is expected to open at the end of 2014. This property is a potential asset to be injected into SPH REIT. SPH’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Times Development Pte Ltd, also developed a 43-storey upmarket residential condominium, Sky@eleven, at Thomson Road.

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