Three of the UK’s best young athletes shortlisted for top sports award
01 Nov 2012
SportsAid has today announced the shortlist for its prestigious One-to-Watch Award which celebrates the brightest prospects for the future of British sport.
Previous winners include Olympic diver Tom Daley and Paralympic sprinter Sally Brown and this year, of the 1,700 young sportsmen and women who have been supported by SportsAid, the three shortlisted athletes are:
- Seventeen-year-old gymnast Courtney Tulloch (left in photo above, copyright Action Images) from Maidstone in Kent
- Twenty-year-old freestyle skier James Woods (centre in photo above) from Sheffield in South Yorkshire
- Seventeen-year-old slalom canoeist Kimberley Woods (right in photo above) from Rugby in Warwickshire.
The athletes were nominated to SportsAid by their sports’ governing bodies for their commitment, performances and potential. The judges included BBC sports commentator Paul Dickenson, Sport England’s head of talent development Simon Wergen, UK Sport’s performance advisor John Wood, BBC sports correspondent Matt Slater, and Olympic rower Sarah Winckless who was also supported by SportsAid as a junior.
Courtney Tulloch won two gold medals at the junior European gymnastics championships this year and after learning he had been shortlisted for the award said:
“I am delighted to have been nominated for this award. This has been a great year for me. I went to my first European championships as a junior and came away with two gold medals. I am looking forward to hopefully being selected to compete for Team GB in Australia at the Youth Olympics in January 2013 and my ultimate goal is to compete at the senior world championships and Olympics. To have the support from SportsAid and British Gymnastics has meant that I have been able to fully concentrate on my training while having the opportunity to compete for Great Britain and achieve amazing results. I am very grateful to everyone especially my personal coach Ionut Trandaburu at Pegasus Gymnastics Club and head coach Barrie Collie.”
Tim Peake from British Gymnastics added, “Courtney is a brilliant gymnast – a real powerhouse on the rings. When he won gold at the European championships it was our first medal for more than 20 years. His results show he’s already up there with the senior men so he’s very much on track for [the Olympics in] 2016.”
James Woods became the first British skier to win a world cup event in eight years in September and after learning he had been shortlisted for the award said:
“I am really excited to hear I have been shortlisted for this award. Thank you! Over the last couple of years I have become more and more delighted with where my passion and dedication in my sport has taken me. Thanks to everyone who has and still is supporting me so much, I endeavour to do you and my country proud for years to come. Winning the world cup this September was an incredible boost towards my further ambitions and the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games is a huge priority for me at the moment. If I get to drop-in from that start-gate representing Team GB I will every time do everything I can to come away with the best result possible, and I see no reason why that shouldn't be on top of the podium. It would be a dream come true to come away with gold at Sochi.”
British freeski team head coach Pat Sharples added, “Woodsy is not only one of the most talented skiers I have worked with, but also the most hardest working and dedicated. He has truly given it his all to get where he is today and he fully deserves all his recent success.”
Kimberley Woods won a gold medal at the junior canoe slalom world championships this year and after learning she had been shortlisted for the award said:
“I would love to thank those who nominated me for this award. I am very grateful to beshortlisted. This past year has been a big year for me, getting onto the senior team for the first time and also winning medals internationally. My biggest achievement was winning gold and becoming junior European champion. I'm aiming to be even better and accomplish more medals next year, and I wouldn't be able to do this without all the support I have now, so thank you."
Andy Maddock from GB Canoeing added, “Kimberley’s achievements this season have made an impact at the senior as well as junior level in the sport and with a further year as a junior, 2013 promises to be another showcase for her talent. Kimberley’s success has not come without a huge level of commitment from her and her support team, in particular her grandparents who enable her to fit training around her school life. At 17 years old she is not only professional and very humble but a great ambassador for our sport and with that attitude can go as far as she dares to push.”
Chairman of the judging panel Paul Dickenson said, “The quality of the field made the shortlist a tough choice this year but in the end the commitment and potential in these three shone through. They are all exciting prospects for the future.”
The winner of the One-to-Watch Award will be announced at SportsAid’s annual SportsBallTM in London on November 21, where many stars of London 2012 are coming together to support the next generation. Tickets are available at www.sportsball.org.uk.
- For more information and to arrange interviews please call Simon Worsfold at SportsAid on 020 7273 1978 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The One-to-Watch Award judges are:
- Paul Dickenson, BBC Sport (also a SportsAid trustee)
- Matt Slater, BBC Sport
- Simon Wergan, Sport England
- John Wood, UK Sport
- Sarah Winckless, Chair of the British Olympic Association’s Athletes’ Commission (also a SportsAid alumna)
- Joslyn Hoyte Smith, English Institute of Sport
- Breege Zachary, SportsAid
In alphabetical order, the longlist of athletes who were nominated for the One-to-Watch Award – from which the judges chose the final shortlist – is as follows:
- Annabel Vose, 18, sailing, from Curdridge, SportsAid Award from Lloyds TSB
- Bryony Pitman, 15, archery, from Bournemouth, SportsAid Award from FedEx
- Courtney Tulloch, 17, artistic gymnastics, from Maidstone, SportsAid Award from Kent County Council
- Dina Asher-Smith, 16, athletics, from Orpington SportsAid Award from GLL Sport Foundation
- Georgia Hall, 16, golf, from Bournemouth, SportsAid Award from Bournemouth Rotary Club
- James Woods, 20, freestyle skiing, from Sheffield, SportsAid Award from the Cue Ball
- Kimberley Woods, 17, slalom canoeing, from Rugby, SportsAid Award from Airwave
- Miles Burton, 16, triathlon, from Bath, SportsAid Award from Comet
- Phillip Marsh, 18, fencing, from Bradford on Avon, SportsAid Award from Lloyds TSB
- Quillan Isidore, 16, BMX cycling, from London, SportsAid Award from Prudential
- Sophie Thornhill, 16, para track cycling, from Poynton, SportsAid Award from Variety
As SportsAid’s patron, Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge is helping to shine a light on the achievements and potential of young athletes throughout the UK – an inspiring generation who one day hope to represent the nation at the Olympic or Paralympic Games. SportsAid alumnus Sir Chris Hoy welcomed the patronage by saying, “SportsAid played an important role when I was starting out so I know what a huge boost this will be to the young sportsmen and women the charity helps today. As patron Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge will give them the profile they deserve.”