My ST athlete of the Year would be Tao Li. Throughout the years, Singapore has witnessed the blossoming of this budding talent into a promise of glory and trimuph, but without doubt, 2008 belongs to her, the year of confirmation borne from perspiration and potential. The mould of a Champion is shaped by both fortitude in character and superior excellence in her sport, and I believe Tao Li embodies both qualities to refute all doubts.
A Champion inspires, by conquering uncharted territories. Let us not forget the surprise that she sprung onto us during the Olympics when she qualified for the Butterfly 100m finals, no mean feat given the physical superiority and the long dominance of the West. That is worthy of much admiration and praise as Tao Li has defied natural obstacles. This is also testament of her determination and hardwork to make up for what she lacks in height, an essential advantage in competitive swimming. By breaking into the elite group, she has given us the hope of dreaming, that nothing is impossible.
Furthermore, the year of 2008 has seen Tao Li produce consistent achievements, not only in Olympics but also in various legs of the FINA Arena Swimming World Cup. A win is commendable, but when one manages to clinch a string of victories, this is strong evidence of her innate quality and her unwavering grit and perseverance. We are convinced that in the future ahead, she will continue to improve and reach beyond all limitations and expectations.
This is why I believe that Tao Li deserves to be the ST Athlete of the Year. The achievements of the other athletes fill me with pride, but Tao Li leads by far, for she has proven herself worthy in every single aspect of what a Champion should be.