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Leeds’ sporting stars celebrated at glittering awards

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Posted 1st March 2019

Sport at all levels across Leeds was celebrated at a glittering ceremony at the first direct arena on Thursday night.

The 16th Leeds Sports Awards, organised by Sport Leeds and Banana Kick, saw 22 awards handed out in front of more than 800 people, including the likes of boxing World Champion, Josh Warrington, and Leeds United legend, Eddie Gray.

The awards not only celebrate sporting achievements, but recognise the contribution of coaches and volunteers from elite performance to grass roots sport.

Warrington was once again the headline act, taking home the Sporting Pride of Leeds Award following a stunning 2018 that saw him claim the IBF Featherweight title at Elland Road, before winning one of the bouts of the year against Carl Frampton in Manchester.

It was a particularly successful night for Leeds Rhinos.  In the Senior Achievers category – awards decided on by a combination of public vote and a selection panel – women’s captain, Lois Forsell, was named Sportswoman of the Year after leading the club to the League Leaders’ Shield and Challenge Cup glory in their debut campaign.

James Simpson – a member of the Rhinos wheelchair rugby league team – was Disability Sportsman of the Year.  He was part of the Rhinos side who stunned favourites Halifax in the Grand Final last September, with teammate and Grand Final try-scorer, Jodie Boyd-Ward, named Disability Sportswoman of the Year.  Nathan Collins was also part of that success, and was named Young Disability Sportsman.

Star gymnast Nile Wilson retained his crown as Sportsman of the Year for his five-medal haul at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. His coach, Dave Murray, was named Coach of the Year for his role in the success of Wilson and many members of the Leeds Gymnastics club, including Jack Stanley, who was the Young Sportsman of the Year. Leeds Gymnastics Clubs Juniors were the Young Club of the Year (Performance).

The first ever winners of the Leeds Cares Award for dedication to getting people active in the city, was presented to the Leeds Girls Can Ambassadors.  The team of 12 volunteers give up their time to lead events across the city with over 200 women taking part in their ‘Couch to 5k’ programme in 2018. They also organised a free 12-week boot camp at Middleton Park, numerous free walking groups and bike rides, as well as dozens of taster sessions and over 30 free events on International Women’s Day.

Bob Jones – affectionately known as ‘Mr. Aikido’ was recognised for more than 30 years devotion to the sport of Aikido, with the Outstanding Service to Sport award.  Liz Wilson and David Heddon, two of the founding board members of Sport Leeds, were awarded Lifetime Achievement Awards.

“It was a fantastic night celebrating the incredible sporting talent across Leeds,” said Peter Smith, Chair of Sport Leeds.  “We had the first direct arena filled with over 800 guests, with world class athletes rubbing shoulders with the people who make sport and physical activity happen across the city.  It’s a truly inclusive event and the range of awards and winners reflect that.

“I’d like to congratulate all the winners; the highly commended finalists; and the finalists – their achievements during 2018 were outstanding.  I’d also like to thank Banana Kick who led the event on our behalf and all our sponsors and partners for their contribution to making the 2019 Leeds Sports Awards the outstanding event it is.”

Leeds Sports Awards 2019 – Winners

Sporting Pride of Leeds – Josh Warrington

Lifetime Achievement Award – Liz Wilson and David Heddon

Leeds Cares Award – Leeds Girls Can Ambassadors

Senior Achievers – Sponsored by Ringways and Motability

Sportsman of the Year Nile Wilson
Sportswoman of the Year Lois Forsell
Disability Sportsman of the Year James Simpson
Disability Sportswoman of the Year Jodie Boyd-Ward
Coach of the Year Dave Murray


Young Achievers – Sponsored by Leeds Bid

Young Club/Team – Community Corpus Christi Catholic College Year 7 Girls Rugby
Young Club/Team – Performance The Junior MA and WA Leeds Gymnastics Team
Young Sportswoman Leah Crisp
Young Sportsman (Over 16) Hope Price
Young Sportsman (U16) Jack Stanley
Young Sportswoman – Disability Charlotte Tate
Young Sportsman – Disability Nathan Collins


Special Contribution

Student Sport (Individual) – Sponsored by Leeds Trinity University Connor Davies, Curtis Davies, Sion Jones
Student Sport (Club) – Sponsored by Leeds Trinity University University of Leeds Netball Club
Club/Team Performance  – Sponsored by Leeds City College City of Leeds Diving Club
Volunteer Susan Partridge
Outstanding Service to Sport – Sponsored by Impulse Decisions Bob Jones
Service to PE and School Sport – Sponsored by ImageCo Charlie Pyatt
Coach (Participation) – Sponsored by Resource Kris Stafford, Harrison Marshall, Stephen Quinn

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