MOEEN ALI AND REBECCA DOWNIE AMONG THE WINNERS FOR THE FIRST LYCAMOBILE BEDSA
On Saturday night, some of the most successful sports personalities graced the red carpet at the first-ever Lycamobile British Ethnic Diversity Sport Awards (BEDSA) to celebrate excellence amongst Britain's outstanding Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) sportspeople.
Cricketer Moeen Ali won the highly contested Lycamobile Sportsman of the Year category. Gymnast Rebecca Downie, European and Commonwealth Medallist 2014, won the Sporting Equals Sportswoman of the Year Award.
Moeen's father picked up the award on his behalf having been a mentor and inspiration throughout his life and cricketing career. Munir Ali said "It was a real honour to pick up this award on behalf of my son. As a British Asian and a Muslim I know how much this award means to him. But for Moeen its always been about the cricket and I'm so glad that his current century has really helped to inspire the English team to raise their game."
The prestigious awards, voted on by the public, were attended by a host of other sporting legends and stars including Olympic heptathlon gold medallist Denise Lewis, World and Olympic Champion, Christine Ohuruogu , Rugby World Cup winner, Maggie Alphonsi and Olympic gold medallist Jason Gardner. Other winners included Chris Powell for the FA Coach of the Year category. The awards also celebrated the fantastic work being undertaken in the community to increase sport participation among BAME population.
Olympic Gold medallist and sporting legend Denise Lewis, OBE was honoured with the Lifetime Achievement award for her contribution to sport during her lifetime.
Arun Kang, the Chief Executive of Sporting Equals said "The awards mark a key milestone in the sporting calendar. The calibre of the award winners voted for by thousands of people highlights the contribution that Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic sports people are making to the world of sport.
Kang continued; “These awards have helped drive our new Future Champions programme which helps rising stars with the support, education and mentoring they need to succeed. By working closely with community projects and professional sports clubs, we will continue to increase diversity in sport and drive participation rates.”
Mr G T Jeyaseelan, Group Chief Operating Officer, Lycamobile Group of companies, commented: “The inaugural BEDSAs have been a great way of celebrating the sporting achievements of British ethnic minorities in the UK. We're delighted that Lycamobile Sportsman of the Year has gone to Moeen Ali, a well-deserved reward for a great British cricketer making a significant contribution to such a great team sport. These awards have been a long time coming and I look forward to them being developed in the future.”
The ceremony was hosted by Nitin Ganatra from BBC's EastEnders and took place at the Ricoh Arena, Coventry. It was attended by 500 guests including Christine Ohuruogu and QPR duo Les Ferdinand and Chris Ramsay. Lycamobile is the headline partner of the BEDSAs. Other official partners include FA, Sport England, ECB, The Youth Sport Trust, The County Sports Partnership Network, Jaguar, England Athletics' and UK Sport.
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