Olympians light up Bedford Sports Awards 2012

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Memories of an Olympic sporting year came flooding back at the Bedford Sports Awards on Monday.

Memories of an Olympic sporting year came flooding back at the Bedford Sports Awards on Monday.

Bedford Sports Awards 2012'Bedford Corn Exchange

Bedford Sports Awards 2012'Bedford Corn Exchange

Bedford Corn Exchange was packed for the 17th annual celebration of local sporting achievement - saluting high achievers and unsung heroes at the grassroots

But in the year of the London Olympics - and Bedford’s extensive involvement in the Games - it was only right to celebrate local achievements at the global event.

Bedford Olympic gold medal kayaker Etienne Stott was joined on stage by the town’s Phelan Hill, cox of the bronze medal winning Mens’ 8 rowing, plus two Paralympic debutants from the borough, sitting volleyball players Julie Rogers and Jessica Frezza.

After reliving their exploits on the big screen they were interviewed by Luke Ashmead of BBC Three Counties Radio and all expressed hopes they would compete at the 2016 Games in Rio.

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Etienne was given the Outstanding Achiever Award, capping an excellent day as earlier he had been presented with the Freedom of Bedford Borough.

Bedford Blues player Josh Bassett was named adult sports personality of the year while England U17s handball player Charles Clark won the junior sports personality award.

More than 100 people and teams were nominated across 10 categories taking in a wealth of sports from judo to bmx and athletics to skiing. And around 350 people attended Monday’s prizegiving - probably the biggest gathering of sporting talent the town has seen.

The Bedford Sports Awards were organised by Bedford Borough Council Sports Development Unit on behalf of Sport Bedford.

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The evening began with a performance by UFM, a Kempston-based community dance company.

Bedford’s role as a pre-Olympics venue for numerous teams was remembered as was the Livesite staged at Bedford International Athletics Stadium during the games.

Richard Tapley, principal sports development officer introduced the evening and Deputy Mayor Charles Royden acknowledged the part that the people had played in making the summer of 2012 so memorable…. both at local and National level. He welcomed a range of Gamesmakers, torch bearers and pre-games training camp volunteers onto the stage to thank them.

There was a video presentation showing an example of some positive legacy work co-ordinated by the Sports Development Team with the setting up of 24 Marathon Clubs with local schools and finishing with an inspirational Run with the Kenyans event for around 1000 young people and World class athletes.

The awards were supported by Bedfordshire Police Partnership Trust, Images Fitness Suite and the Times & Citizen. Award sponsors were the Rotary Club of Bedford Park, Bedford Borough Council Sports Development Unit, University of Bedfordshire, Harpur Trust, Bedford College, Sport Bedford and Team Beds & Luton.

Award winners

Adult Sports Personality of the Year

Josh Bassett – Rugby Union

Having started playing rugby with Ampthill at a young age, Josh is now a contracted player for Bedford Blues and has started all but one match this season. He has been selected for the RFU Championship XV squad and played against the New Zealand Maori. Josh has achieved national recognition for his age group in the U20 England Squad.

Junior Sports Personality of the Year

Charles Clark – Handball

Charles has played for England in the U16 Handball Team and last year was selected as goalkeeper for the U17 Handball Team. Charles is also currently trialling for the U19 England Handball Team. Over the past two years Charles has worked in Middle and Upper Schools helping to promote handball and helps coach many teams.

Sports Club of the Year

Viking Kayak Club

Viking Kayak Club is open to everyone from all ages, abilities and backgrounds. It boasts the success of Etienne Stott Olympic Gold Medallist, Jake Silvester 12th in the UK Men’s Kayak Slalom, Andy Kettlewell promoted to Premier Division and Jess Harding and Davina Louisy promoted to Ladies Division One.

Sports Team of the Year

Beauchamp U13s Team – Handball

The team entered the Midlands Schools Handball Championships for the first time this year where they became outright winners in their age category. This win gave Beauchamp U13’s team a place in the National Schools Finals at the Olympic Park Venue for Handball, gaining an outstanding second place ranking. They have also been invited to represent England U13s at the Partille Cup Tournament.

Sporting School of the Year

Bedford Academy

Bedford Academy has many talented teams and individuals, including; Year 9’s becoming District Table Tennis winners, the Girl’s Cricket Team were County Champions and their Handball Team come 3rd in the District. Bronze and Silver medals were also achieved at the World Kurash Championships. Anisha Won the Award for the County Women’s Cricketer and Nadia won the ‘Sky Living for Sport’ Student of the Year Award.

Judges certificate of recognition: Milton Ernest Lower School

Milton Ernest Lower School’s biggest success has been in Gymnastics. Children in Key Stage 1 won the Local Key Steps competition, the County Key Steps Competition and went on to be crowned Regional Schools Gymnastics champions. Children in Key Stage 2 won the Local Competition, came second in the County and third in the Region. A great achievement for a school with only 60 pupils.

Sports Coach of the Year

Simon Eastwood – Athletics

Simon is a level 3 Pole Vault coach and has coached in Bedford for over 20 years. He coaches nearly 20 athletes, six of whom rank in the national top 20 of their age group. These athletes include four individuals who are in the top ten and one who tops the rankings and holds the all-time best record for an 11 year old. Simon is passionate about Pole Vault and is deeply committed to his coaching.

Sports Administrator/Club Person of the Year

Dennis Johnson – Athletics

Dennis works thousands of hours a year in many different roles such as; Level 4 Athletics Coach, Chairman and Team Manager for the Bedfordshire and Luton Schools Athletics Association, Local Secretary for English Schools National Combined Events Championships, Bedford and County AC Portfolio Holder for Awards and Records and Vice President of Bedfordshire Athletics Association.

Disability Sports Award

William McAllister – Golf

Despite recovering from a heart attack William has devoted all of his spare time to golf. Now recognised as the Best Total Blind Golfer in England, William has also improved by 15 shots on handicap and has the lowest round by a Total Blind Golfer this year. William has also been selected for home international matches representing England.

Rising Star Award

Nicola Pasquire – Swimming

Nicola competed in the Olympic 2012 Trials for the 400 freestyle and ranked 11th in the Country at the ASA National Champs in 200/400/800 freestyle, Nicola is also ranked 4th in the County in the 800 freestyle for 14 year old girls. Nicola is dedicated to swimming and is County Record Holder for the 800 freestyle, taking 6 seconds off the previous record.

William White – Rowing

Will got involved in rowing two years ago through an indoor rowing programme that Star Club runs in local schools. Wills development in the sport has been excellent and he claimed the club’s fastest junior sculler over 2k last season. He has also qualified for Henley and now has the potential to progress through to represent GB at the Junior Rowing Championships.

Outstanding Achiever Award

Etienne Stott – Canoe Slalom

Etienne from Viking Kayak, along with Tim Baillie, produced a solid performance in the International World Championships coming 6th. Etienne and Tim then became the British Olympic Gold medal Slalom Champions and won the first medal ever in the C2 category at London 2012 this summer.

Young Sports Volunteer of the Year

Gino Ciampa – Football

Gino has taken part in a sponsored zip wire ride in aid of a charity which provides help for disabled and disadvantaged children to get into sport, he is also involved in running events. He mainly volunteers at Bedford Town Youth FC but has also achieved around 100 hours of volunteering for football fixtures run by the FA in refereeing, coaching and events.