JAGUAR LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
Olympic gold medallist Denise Lewis was crowned the Jaguar Lifetime Achievement Award winner at the first Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic sports awards at the Ricoh Arena.
The Golden Girl from Sydney was presented with the award at the Lycamobile British Ethnic Diversity Sports Awards (BEDSA) for her services to sport and her fantastic work with children’s medical research charity, Sparks.
The former heptathlete, who is now an athletics pundit for BBC Sport, was joined on stage in the E.ON Lounge by her mum, Joan, and Arun Kang from BEDSA’s official charity partner, Sporting Equals.
Other winners on the night at the champagne reception and four-course gala dinner included Huddersfield Town manager Chris Powell (The FA Coach of the Year), England cricketer Moeen Ali (The Lycamobile Sportsman of the Year), artistic gymnast Rebecca Downie (The Sporting Equals Sportswoman of the Year) and Paralympic powerlifter Ali Jawad (the UK Sport Inspirational Performance of the Year Award).
Sports Minister Helen Grant was among the 500-strong audience along with executives from Sport England, UK Sport, the Football Association and the England and Wales Cricket Board.
The public votes were announced to recognise the achievements and progress made by Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities as well as projects and people that support participation in sport from grassroots to the elite level.
Arun Kang, the chief executive of Sporting Equals, said it had been a wonderful occasion and had been a perfect opportunity to recognise the fantastic achievements of all the finalists.
He said: “This was our first BEDSA but it won’t be the last. This will act as a catalyst for future years because everyone who attended said they felt the awards were worthwhile.
“The joy on the faces of the award winners was there for all to see and the acceptance speeches conveyed their happiness.
“The awards will create a lasting legacy through the creation of a future champions programme as well as encourage even more participants next year.”
Liz Cooper, marketing director at the Ricoh Arena, said the awards recognised individuals who had proved an inspiration to others as well as having made a difference in their chosen fields.
“All the winners had inspiring stories to tell of their rise to sporting success and it was a great evening to highlight the importance of diversity and inclusion in sport,” she said.
“One of the important factors of BEDSA was that it wasn’t just about honouring household names but also those involved in grassroots sport and it was a truly wonderful occasion.”