As Singapore continues to field excellent sportsmen into the international arena such as Badminton World Federation world champion shuttler Loh Kean Yew and paralympic gold medallist Yip Pin Siu, the Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS) recognises the need to continue supporting the growth of more sporting talent through philanthropy, so that Singapore may continue to produce many more distinguished sportsmen and women for the years to come.
The Annabel Pennefather Excellence Award is one such enabler that helps young sports women reach greater heights and bring glory to our country.
It is presented annually to two female graduating student-athletes between 16 and 25 years of age, who have displayed remarkable dedication to their sporting craft and achieved outstanding results in sports.
Funded by the International Women’s Forum Singapore’s Education Grant, which is managed by CFS, the Grant aims to recognise deserving young women with character and the commitment to achieve in their respective fields.
The Award honours the late Annabel Pennefather – a former national hockey player, a pioneer of women sports administrators in Singapore and a champion of women in sports globally – and celebrates her achievements through encouraging and empowering women in the field of sports.
This year, the Award winners of the 2021 Annabel Pennefather Excellence Award are Cheung Kemei and Jaslyn Hooi, two young women who have demonstrated exceptional skill and excellence in their respective sporting fields.
At the tender age of only 16, foilist Cheung Kemei has already acquired a number of accolades under her fencing belt, having had an outstanding year at local national and age-group competitions last year in spite of the swelling pandemic.
“I feel very happy and honoured to receive this award. I’m very grateful and would like to thank the school, coaches and everyone who supported me throughout this journey. This award definitely encourages and motivates me to work harder and achieve better results for Singapore,” says the talented young fencer.
The foilist punched above her weight to win a gold at the Singapore Senior Championships last year in February, and won another gold medal for the U17 Women’s Foil Individual at the Singapore Cadet Nationals.
Though there is a long list of contenders for coveted spots, Kemei has her eyes set on making it to the final list of competitors for the upcoming SEA Games this year.
The other Award winner, 21-year-old shuttler Jaslyn Hooi, first represented Singapore at the Youth Olympic Games in 2018 in Buenos Aires where she finished 4th in the Women’s Singles. Since then, Jaslyn has participated and won a bronze at the 2019 SEA Games, and is set to take on the region’s best at the SEA Games this year.
“2021 proved to be a successful year, especially towards the end of the year, where I competed for six weeks in Europe. I managed to get gold in one of them and improved my world ranking to be top ninety in the world,” reflects Jaslyn with pride.
In September 2021, she claimed the Women’s Singles title at the Polish International, making it the best win in her career thus far. Among one of the top local shuttlers, Jaslyn won the Women’s Singles title at the Singapore National Open Championships consecutively in 2020 and 2021.
“I’m extremely honoured to be receiving this award. It’s nice to know that Sports School is still supporting us on our sporting journey and recognising our hardwork and success. My goal is to be top fifty at the end of 2022, and this award will continue to push me towards that goal,” says the ambitious young shuttler.
She aspires to play well in bigger tournaments this year and to make it to the Top 80. Her ultimate goal is to make it to the 2024 Olympic Games, and is determined to give her best effort to make her dream come true.
If you would like to support more budding sporting talent in Singapore through philanthropy, please read more here.