Posted: Fri, 16 Jan 2015 15:14
(Photo - Winners Ben Dijkstra & Grace Garner. Source: Leicester Mercury)
The Leicester Mercury Sports Awards took place last night at the Leicester Tigers Stadium, celebrating the ever-broadening range of talented teams and individuals who make Leicestershire & Rutland sport so outstanding.
Leicester City manager Nigel Pearson claimed the Coach of the Year honours after leading the Foxes back to the Premier League for the first time in a decade.
City also lifted the Team of the Year award after winning the Football League Championship in magnificent style, sealing promotion in the ultra-tough division with half a dozen games remaining.
Commended in the Coach section were two long-serving county coaches, Jill Stidever and Trevor Low, from swimming and gymnastics respectively. Jill was recently crowned winner of the BBC Get Inspired Unsung Hero Award, presented at the Sports Personality of the Year ceremony in Glasgow last December.
Trevor is head coach of Hinckley Gymnastics Club, who were awarded with Club of the Year, seeing off competition from Coalville Rugby Club and Leicester Forest Cycling Club.
In the Team category, Leicester Ladies hockey players and the Leicester Cobras Wheelchair basketball team received commendations.
Paralympics star Dan Greaves took the Sportsman of the Year award, after a year which saw him strike Commonwealth and European gold. Greaves, from Anstey, got the nod ahead of snooker world champion Mark Selby and Loughborough wheelchair tennis ace Antony Cotterill.
An incredible year on the rugby field for Emily Scarratt saw her crowned Sportswoman of the Year. Scarratt was the star performer in England's World Cup triumph last summer. Emily is is a former GO GOLD Ambassador and current ambassador for the Leicestershire & Rutland School Games.
One of her team-mates, Vicky Fleetwood, the former John Cleveland College student, was among the commended athletes, alongside Commonwealth Games triple-jump silver medallist Laura Samuel and European cross-country champion Gemma Steel, the 2013 Sportswoman of the Year.
Athletes Amy Griffiths and Panagiotis Mamuneas won the Young Sportswoman and Young Sportsman accolades respectively. Both Amy and Panagiotis are part of the Leicestershire & Rutland Sport GO GOLD Funding Programme for 2015. To find out more information about the GO GOLD Funding Programme, please click here.
Thomas Estley's under-13 girls were winners of the Under-19 Team section after lifting the national cup last season. Team member Libby Smith has recently earned a call into the England Schools FA under-15 squad and will now travel to Portugal for warm-weather training next month before lining up in matches against the Republic of Ireland and Scotland.
The Junior Sportsman of the Year award went to Joel Weston, current British and English Champion in the 200m butterfly at the National Age Group Championships. The Junior Sportswoman of the Year award was won by Hope Warner, the 13 year old badminton player from Wigston who became National singles and doubles champion in April last year. Joel and Hope both recieve support from the Leicestershire & Rutland Sport GO GOLD Funding Programme this year.
The outstanding exploits of two young athletes at home and abroad in 2014, tri-athlete Ben Dijkstra and cyclist Grace Garner, were recognised as they were both named winners of the Neville Hamilton Award. Ben and Grace are also recipients of the Leicestershire & Rutland Sport GO GOLD Funding Programme for 2015 with Grace also being a current ambassador for the Leicestershire & Rutland School Games programme.
The curtain came down on the 'Sporting Oscars' presentation evening at Leicester Tigers' Welford Road stadium after former snooker player Willie Thorne, now a commentator on the game, was handed the Lifetime Achievement award.
Leicester Mercury editor Kevin Booth said: "It was a great night and an opportunity to celebrate achievement, perseverance and courage across all levels of sporting excellence. Congratulations to all finalists. The Leicester Mercury is proud to recognise the honour they have brought to the area."
For a full report and pictures, see the special sports awards pull-out inside Tuesday's Leicester Mercury.
(Source: Leicester Mercury)