16-11-11, London: A sixteen-year-old sprinter from Londonderry, Sally Brown, has won a prestigious sports award this evening when she was named as SportsAid’s 2011 One-to-Watch Award winner at the charity’s annual SportsBallTM.
The One-to-Watch Award is presented to the UK’s best young sportsmen and women based on their performance and commitment. Previous winners include diver Tom Daley and the current European junior athlete of the year Jodie Williams. Beating 2,000 other top young athletes to get the award, Sally said:
“I’m really honoured and can’t believe that I’ve been picked for this award. There’s so much talent in the UK and to be chosen as the One-to-Watch is amazing.
“This is a great start to the season for me as I’m just getting back into training now, focusing on my technique and getting ready for the year ahead and winning this gives me a lot of confidence for that. I would definitely like to get to the London 2012 Paralympics next year and even medal at it but I will have to see how the season goes.”
At 16, Sally is still a junior athlete but has won medals at some of her sport’s highest profile senior events this year. At the IPC World Championships in New Zealand she won a bronze medal in the 200m (T46) and in the same event at the Paralympic World Cup in Manchester she went one better, winning silver. At the IWAS World Junior Championships in Dubai in April she won another silver medal in the under-23 100m (T46) and a gold medal in the under-23 200m (T46).
SportsAid’s Chief Executive Tim Lawler said: “Our annual One-to-Watch Award recognises the UK’s best performing young sportsperson and Sally is a worthy winner. She has shown immense dedication to her sport and enjoyed some fantastic medal-winning performances as a result.
“When you look at the potential within young people like Sally, it highlights how important it is for us to support talented athletes like her. Thanks to the ongoing support of SportsAid’s partners we are able to help 2,000 rising stars of British sport every year.
“Many of the athletes in action at the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games next year will have had a helping hand from SportsAid and there is every chance that Sally will be one of them,” he added.
Sally’s nomination for SportsAid’s 2011 One-to-Watch Award came from her sport’s governing body, UK Athletics. Their Paralympic programme performance transition manager is Paula Dunn, who works closely with Sally and said:
“Sally burst onto the international field in August 2010 at the world juniors and since then she has gone from strength to strength. She has great talent, as well as great drive and determination, and hopefully this combination will make her realise her full potential for 2012 and beyond.”
The One-to-Watch Award panel judges who chose Sally from a shortlist of 13 announced on October 26 are:
Paul Dickenson (BBC Sport Commentator)
Matt Slater (BBC Sport News Gatherer)
Emyr Roberts (Strategic Lead Coaching and Talent Development, Sport England)
Matt Favier (Head of Performance Solutions, UK Sport)
Joslyn Hoyte-Smith (Performance Operations Manager, English Institute of Sport)
Sarah Winkless (Chair of the Athlete’s Commission, British Olympic Association)
Emmanuel Blanchard (Awards Manager, SportsAid).
Photo caption (above): Sally Brown receiving her One-to-Watch Award from Dame Mary Peters at the SportsBall 2011 in London on 16/11/11.
For more information about SportsAid and the One-to-Watch Award, and to arrange interviews, call Simon Worsfold at SportsAid on 020 7273 1978 or 07960 357116.
Background on SportsAid
SportsAid helps talented young disabled and able-bodied athletes to achieve their ambitions. Since 1976, the charity has distributed around £50 million to aspiring athletes throughout Britain.
This year, SportsAid has helped 2,000 of Britain’s best young athletes by providing them with SportsAid Awards (which are funded by the charity’s donors, partners and supporters) to recognise their achievements and to help them meet the cost of training and competing during the critical formative years of their careers – when individual sponsorship deals can be hard to find.
Many of the athletes supported by SportsAid go on to achieve international success. For example, 18 of the 19 gold medals won by Team GB at the 2008 Olympics went to SportsAid athletes, and more than a third of Team GB’s 42 gold medals at the 2008 Paralympics were won by SportsAid athletes.
By working with the governing bodies of around 70 sports in Britain to identify and support athletes who show the greatest potential, SportsAid ensures the right people are helped in the right way at the right time.
A typical recipient of a SportsAid Award is aged between 12 and 18, spends around £5,500 a year on their sport, and trains for 15 hours a week on top of other commitments such as school work.
On behalf of UK Sport, SportsAid manages the Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme (TASS), which supports aspiring British sportsmen and women in higher or further education (HE/FE). Since 2004, the charity has distributed more than £25 million of TASS funding to talented athletes in HE/FE.
Tim Lawler, SportsAid's chief executive, leads the charity's work in helping talented young sports people. Tim has written a blog discussing his expectations ahead of the Rio Olympics, the impact sport has on the nation's mood and the work being undertaken with Sport England to create opportunities for athletes facing 'extreme financial hardship'.
SportsAid athletes won 20 gold, 15 silver and 11 bronze medals in Rio as Team GB delivered the country’s most successful Olympic Games in 108 years. The 46 podium finishes claimed by former beneficiaries of the charity came across 17 different sports. Track cycling was the best performing individual sport for SportsAid alumni with seven medals.
Great Britain middle-distance and cross country runner Sabrina Sinha is supported by SportsAid. She recently captained the British Athletics team at the European Youth Championships (Under-18s) in Georgia. She has written a blog for SportsAid about her highlights from the Olympic Games.