North East Sports Awards 2008

ne_sports_winners_470x283Here’s me behind Tony Jeffries at the North East Sports awards that were held at the Sunderland Aquatic Centre on Sunday. Tony won the main Personality of the Year award – an award that has eluded me throughout my career and continues to do so. Well done to Tony though, well deserved.

It was a very different awards night to previous years,  the venue ensured that. It was my first visit to the Aquatic Centre and it’s a brilliant facility for swimming and diving,  although I’m not convinced its a great place for holding awards ceremonies – I thought I was going to end up in the pool a few times. Something a bit different though I guess.

I was up for 3 awards (Performance, Disabled Sportsperson, and Personality of the Year) so I thought I had a decent chance of coming away with one award at least. To my surprise I won the very first award of the night for Performance of the Year, beating Paul Collingwood and a horse! It’s a prestigious award to win so I was very proud. Every time I see footage of my last throw in Beijing I sit there willing it to go a bit further, but like I said on the night – it was a pretty awesome throw in the circumstances. Thanks to all the people that nominated me for awards.

I also jointly won Disabled Sportsperson of the Year along with all the regions medallists from the Beijing Paralympics. Now again it was nice to win the award, but at risk of being controversial, I’d say that not picking an individual winner wasn’t a good decision and watered down the award somewhat. I’m not necessarily saying that I should have won it, but someONE should have because the whole point of awards is that someone wins them and someone is disappointed, that’s life and you get on with it, I’ve had my fair share. By sharing it between 4 people the award was devalued and it didn’t represent equality – even harking of the old pat on the head approach to disability sport, where everyone gets something for taking part. As my girlfriend pointed out, the main award wasn’t shared between all the Olympic medallists, so why should the disabled award be any different?

Ever since I started doing sport one of my ambitions has been to win the North East Sports Personality of the Year, when I tell that to people they tend to look at me like I’ve got two heads, I guess because it’s unthinkable a disabled person could win the main award and after all, that’s what the Disabled Sports Person of the Year is for. However my arguement is that if we had true equality in sport there would be no need for a disabled award.

Hmmm ok rant over.  Two out of three awards is good!


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