http://thestar.com.my/sports/story.asp?file=/2011/2/26/sports/8143571&sec=sports Nicol, Chong Wei and Azizulhasni lead charge for SAM award KUALA LUMPUR: Five-time world squash champion Nicol David, world number one shuttler Lee Chong Wei and cycling ace Azizulhasni Awang are the frontrunners for the 2010 PLUS-Sportswriters Association of Malaysia (SAM) award. The trio are among the five nominees for the prestigious award along with diver Pandalela Rinong and shooter Nur Suryani Taibi. The winner, who will take home RM10,000 and a trophy, will be announced at the Saujana Golf and Country Club on March 6. Nicol ruled supreme in world squash and stayed unbeaten last year. The Penangite won nine Women’s International Squash Players Association (Wispa) tournament titles and clinched a record equalling fifth world crown. She was also crowned WISPA Player of the Year for the sixth consecutive time. The other four nominees are also in with a shout for the award, having created records of sorts in Malaysian sports. Pandelela created history when she won Malaysia’s first-ever diving gold medal at the Commonwealth Games. She defeated several top divers to win the women’s 10m platform gold. As for Nur Suryani, she delivered a gold and a bronze in the Commonwealth Games. She scored 496.9 points to finish third in the women’s 10m air rifle individual event. She then partnered Nur Ayuni Halim to win the 10m rifle pairs gold. It was only the second time in the history of the Games that Malaysia struck gold in the shooting event. To cap off a wonderful year, Nur Suryani also won a bronze in the 10m air rifle event to become the first-ever Malaysian female shooter to win a shooting medal in the Asian Games. Azizulhasni, who won the 2009 100PLUS-SAM award, ended Malaysia’s 40-year gold drought in the Asian Games when he emerged champion in the keirin event. The Terengganu rider was also crowned the overall keirin winner in the World Cup. Chong Wei, on the other hand, continued his dominance in world badminton, winning 10 out of the 12 Open tournaments he competed in 2010. Besides retaining the Commonwealth Games team and individual gold medals, Chong Wei also triumphed in eight international tournaments, including six Super Series titles in Hong Kong, South Korea, Malaysia, Switzerland, Indonesia and Japan. He also bagged the GP Gold titles in Malaysia and Macau and was an individual silver medallist in the Asian Games. Meanwhile, a new award - the Most Promising Athlete – is also up for grabs with the winner taking home RM3,000 and a trophy.