Coalville’s Karim Chan believes being nominated for SportsAid’s prestigious One-to-Watch Award will take him to even greater heights in 2020. After retaining his world junior long jump title, the athlete was chosen as one of 10 nominees for the annual One-to-Watch Award, selected from around 1,000 rising British stars supported by SportsAid across more than 60 different sports in 2019.
The 19-year-old attended the ceremony at Sea Containers House in central London alongside SportsAid alumni such as Christine Ohuruogu, Leon Taylor and Lutalo Muhammad, just missed out on the award as para-swimming sensation Ellie Challis was named the winner. Although the night did not end in ultimate success for Karim, he admitted the whole evening had been one to savour.
He said: “It’s an honour to have been recognised alongside a lot of great athletes from across the country. It’s a great feeling to have been part of such a special evening. I had a great 2019, but I’ve had a lot of support from my team, my coach and my family, so it’s great to be able to share this recognition with them, as well.
“SportsAid provide me with vital funds, and I’m really grateful for their help and to be shortlisted in their top 10 for the One-to-Watch Award is a big occasion for me.”
Launched in 2006, the One-to-Watch Award has gained a strong reputation for identifying the best up-and-coming prospects in Britain. Diving world champion Tom Daley was the inaugural winner, with the likes of Courtney Tulloch, Amber Hill, Morgan Lake and now Ellie following in his footsteps.
Previous winners have already amassed 43 senior medals from Olympic and Paralympic Games, World and European Championships, as well as Commonwealth Games, to establish themselves as household names. For Karim, the nomination is just the beginning and he is determined to follow in his idols' footsteps in 2020.
“Next year I hope to jump over seven metres and go to the European Championships and perform well," he added. “Realistically I don’t think I’ll make the 2020 Paralympic Games but Paris four years later is firmly on my mind. It’s all about progressing next year and keeping up the good work I put in during 2019.”
Dame Katherine, Britain’s most decorated female Olympian, and five-time Paralympic para-equestrian champion Natasha Baker were among the panel of judges casting their eye over the nominees. Katherine admitted she was blown away by the vast array of talent on show.
“The One-to-Watch Award is fabulous because we get to have a look at what the future might hold,” she said. “I’ve been on the judging panel a few times now and every year it’s so hard. We really struggle to make the decision - they are outstanding athletes who are as young as 13 and have already had international success.
“That confidence that SportsAid gives - and the extra support and recognition - makes a huge difference to the lives of young people at that point of their career. It is quite game-changing for those who have made the top 10.”
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