Sheffield’s ‘exceptional’ sporting stars have been honoured at an exclusive gala dinner.
Almost 700 guests attended Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park’s Celebration of Sport event, which was organised to recognise the city’s past, present and future athletes and held at the English Institute of Sport Sheffield – where many of the city’s sports stars train.
Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park is a London 2012 Olympic Legacy Project for health and wellbeing research and learning – it brings together a combination of elite athletes, professional sports, education, skills and research in a single location at the heart of a successful Innovation District.
Among the top names in attendance at the event were 2012 Olympic champion Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill, Paralympic rower Grace Clough, boxing’s longest reigning cruiserweight world champion Johnny Nelson, Sheffield Sharks basketball player Mike Tuck, and Paralympic table tennis player Ross Wilson, along with medallists from the Olympics, European Championships, and the Commonwealth Games.
Seven sports awards for individuals, groups or teams in the Sheffield City Region were presented on the night, as well as a special Lifetime Achievement award to former Sheffield United and England footballer Tony Currie:
- Young Sports Performer 2018: Yasmin Harper – a junior springboard diver from the City of Sheffield Diving Club, who represented Great Britain at the World Junior Diving Championships in 2018
- Disabled Sports Performer 2018: Jack Hunter-Spivey – GB Paralympic table tennis player who is currently UK number one in his classification and is in the world’s top three, with 10 British titles to his name
- Senior Sports Performer 2018: Nick Matthew – three -time World Champion squash player
- Community Sport Volunteer 2018: Dawn Wood – who plays a key role at Derek Dooley FC and supported the team in taking home gold at the 2017 Special Olympics
- Community Amateur Sports Club 2018: Hallam Barbell – which has outreach programs including Olympic Weightlifting, Powerbelle, MindfullySTRONG and Strong4Life available to all aspects of the community
- Contribution to Sport & Physical Activity in Education 2018: Malin Bridge Primary School – where PE is a key priority in the school’s development plan, allowing it to establish an innovative curriculum that has developed staff and pupil skills
- Move More Power of Sport 2018: Burngreave collective – which takes a collective community approach to using sport as a tool to impact social outcomes and community issues
The Lifetime Achievement Award, which went to Tony Currie, now a Director with Sheffield United, was presented by renowned athletics coach Tony Minichiello, who was a participant many years ago in a football in the community scheme operated by Tony Currie. The audience rose to their feet when an emotional Currie received his award and thanked people who had supported him.
Medallists representing more than 15 sports attended the red-carpet event, which was hosted by BBC sports reporter Tanya Arnold.
The Rt Hon Richard Caborn, Project Lead for Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park, said: “The variety and level of sporting talent coming out of Sheffield is exceptional and something we should all be very proud of.
“This year we have so much success to celebrate with our elite performers, from the PyeongChang Winter Olympics and the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, to the European Championships and Russia 2018 FIFA World Cup.
“However, we also have plenty to shout about and stories to tell at grassroots level – which has been reflected and recognised in some of the awards presented this evening.
“It was an honour to bring together so many of our city’s sporting greats for an evening of celebration, and where better than the English Institute of Sport Sheffield where many of our sports stars train.”
The event was held in the centre of the Indoor Athletics Arena at the English Institute of Sport Sheffield and included a show opener by members of Sheffield Sharks and Onboard Skatepark, and an auction in aid of The Children’s Hospital Charity and SportsAid Yorkshire and Humberside.
Headline sponsors were Meadowhall/British Land, with Sytner BMW, Sheffield Wednesday Football Club and Pinders also supporting the event.
Award sponsors were One Health, Professional Footballers Association, Midlands Asset Finance, Hallam FM, Sheffield Assay Office, Westfield Health, Redbrik Estate Agents and The Burley Group.