SportsAid has today announced the shortlist for its prestigious One-to-Watch Award which was last year presented by Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge, the charity’s Patron, to skeet shooter Amber Hill.
Other notable recipients from recent years include diver Tom Daley, sprinter Jodie Williams – now the British number one over 200m – and gymnast Courtney Tulloch, who this year competed at the world championships alongside Max Whitlock and Kristian Thomas, who jointly presented him the award back in 2012.
The shortlist of ten was drawn up by judges from Sport England, UK Sport, the English Institute of Sport, BBC Sport and SportsAid – chaired by Olympian Sarah Winckless – from 1,300 young sports people across the UK who have received financial support from SportsAid this year. These ten athletes represent Britain’s brightest prospects for the future with two junior world champions, one senior world champion, one double world record holder and a string of remarkable performances among them.
15 from Liverpool. SportsAid Awards 2012 and 2014.
"I feel so excited to be shortlisted for this award ahead of 1,300 great athletes. It is a great honour for me and both my club and GB coaches who have helped me achieve so much this year. In my sport there is little to no financial support so I have to rely on my parents to fund me but with the help of SportsAid the funding they provided it helped me to become Great Britain's first junior female taekwondo world champion in the last 16 years. The money I received helped fund my training and went towards the cost of the trip to the championships for which I am so grateful."
27 from Livingston, West Lothian. SportsAid Award 2014 from SSE.
"It feels amazing to become world champion in my first year in the sport and to know that this is fully appreciated by the people at SportsAid. When you are just starting out all help is fully welcomed. It's been a busy year with lots of travel and buying new equipment the money kindly donated to SportsAid by SSE has made a huge help in my journey. Also just having their support and encouragement to make you feel supported and to help to raise my profile has been very helpful."
17 from Bourne End, Buckinghamshire. SportsAid Awards 2013 (SportsAid Eastern) and 2014 (Jaguar Academy of Sport).
"It was a complete surprise but it is an awesome feeling to be recognised as someone with potential. After I looked at the rest of the list I realised the calibre of junior sports men and women that have been shortlisted. Having competed with and got to know some of them this summer [at the Youth Olympics] in Nanjing, it made being the whole thing even more special! It’s a privilege, and it shows that all the training isn’t for nothing! The money I received from SportsAid was a huge help. I was just starting out in my international career when I received my first SportsAid Award in 2013, and it helped me fund going to the Junior World Championships in Lithuania, as well as buy some rowing specific kit that comes at pretty hefty prices. The bank of mum and dad can only stretch so far, so having the support from SportsAid was crucial in making the team - not to mention to cover food costs!"
19 from Cumbria SportsAid Award 2014
17 from Helston, Cornwall. SportsAid Award 2014 from OCS.
"I am extremely honoured to be considered so highly in this nomination. All of my hard work and training in a sport that I am so passionate for is really paying off. I hope my achievements encourage others to continue in their sports. The money has been extremely beneficial as I have travelled far and wide all over the country to attend various training and games such as to represent my country. It has also helped me gain some financial independence, easing the strain upon my parents such as the continual washing loads and endless food supply."
14 from Dunbar, East Lothian. SportsAid Awards 2013 and 2014 from Bank of Scotland Local Heroes.
"I'm really pleased that people have noticed my potential and it's amazing to think I was chosen over 1,300 great athletes. The money I have received from SportsAid through the Bank of Scotland Local Heroes programme has really helped me this season. I live in Scotland and my coach lives in Merseyside so I have to travel a lot. This summer, I was able to spend time in my school holidays with him to prepare for the IPC European Championships which were being held in August. The money I received helped me do this and it was definitely worthwhile as I returned home as a double European champion."
17 from Bagshot, Surrey. SportsAid Awards 2013 and 2014 from Jaguar Academy of Sport.
"It is an absolute honour to have made the shortlist for this award. Out of the 1,300 athletes who could have been shortlisted I am so grateful to be named, especially among the final 10. This prestigious award is a great way to acknowledge the success of athletes supported by SportsAid. The money from SportsAid has helped a lot this year, and I have been able to put it towards increasing travel costs, medical support and equipment such as a shot putt. The money has helped a lot and has meant that I can focus on just the sport without other worries."
18 from Keighley, West Yorkshire. SportsAid Awards 2012, 2013 (Lloyds Bank Local Heroes) and 2014 (Bradford b Active).
"It's a massive honour being chosen as there are 1,300 other athletes that are getting funded by SportsAid and being in the top 10 is great. SportsAid has helped me get new equipment, helped me cover my travel expenses when we are going sparring across the country."
17 from Northallerton, North Yorkshire. SportsAid Awards 2011 and 2014 from SportsAid Yorkshire & Humberside.
"It feels really good to be nominated for the award. Seeing the other athletes that have also been nominated and the amount of athletes that could've been nominated I am honoured to be selected for the top 10. The money has definitely helped. It has helped pay for flights around the world to different competitions that I can compete in and get good results. Also it has helped pay for training camps with the GB team to improve my riding."
16 from Rawtenstall, Lancashire. SportsAid Award 2014 from SSE.
"I feel honoured, privileged and proud to be shortlisted. Hopefully I can continue to train hard and continue my success in the pool through to Rio. The money from SSE has definitely helped as I now train at the National Performance Centre in Manchester under Rob Greenwood and Graeme Smith. I train twice a day there and can take anything from 40 minutes to 2 hours getting in and out of Manchester. These funds have definitely helped towards these costs and I really appreciate what SSE have done for me over the last 9 months. They have been fanastic especially while I was at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow."
The winner will be announced at the SportsBall, SportsAid's flagship gala dinner sponsored by Eversheds, at Supernova in London’s Embankment Gardens on November 27. Tickets and tables for the event are available from sportsball.org.uk or by calling the booking line on 020 8704 4141.
The One-to-Watch Award criteria are as follows:
The One-to-Watch Award judging panel is as follows: