Sporting Equals British Ethnic Diversity Sports Awards 2020 Finalists VOTE NOW!

The Sporting Equals British Ethnic Diversity Sports Awards have been running for six years and we at Sporting Equals are very excited to be delivering the sixth award on March 14th 2020 at Hilton Park Lane Hotel, London

The BEDSA awards were conceptualised to deliver on a celebration of inclusivity for BAME talent and organisations within the Sport and Physical Activity sector. This event is aligned closely to our ethos here at Sporting Equals, it is not only a way to recognise BAME individuals in sport but also a means of providing positive role models for younger generations. Our voting is now public and you can cast your vote here, however, to get a better sense of our finalists you may want to peruse the below!

As such we were incredibly happy with the shortlisted finalists who are: 

Sporting Equals Sportsman of the Year Award

Joe Fraser - Being the first black medal winner in his sport for Team Great Britain, Joe has had a very positive effect in BAME communities. His ambitions to build on this inspiration is very promising. Now a world champion he wants to use his sporting superstardom to help other young people just like him get him into the sport. 'When I came back from the championships I didn't realise how many people it would have touched.'

Joe won overall gold and the parallel bars title, along with silver in the pommel horse and bronze on the rings.​ He was his country's top performer and his success resulted in him being named as his nation's flag bearer at the closing ceremony, something he described as a great honour.

Jofra Archer – Born in Barbados, Jofra made a name for himself with the West Indies U19's. He moved to the UK in 2015 and normally would not have been allowed to represent England until the winter of 2022.  Currently one of the few Caribbean born cricketers representing England on the world stage. Jofra was the player who bowled the winning over which sealed England's victory which was even more impressive given he only joined the England team four matches ahead of the world cup. ​

A key member of the England Cricket team that won the Cricket World Cup 2019, he took an incredible 20 wickets on England's road to winning the world cup.  Archer was the third-fastest English bowler on record. He bowled six deliveries in a row over 90mph. Archer bowled one ball at 96.1mph, he was pivotal to England's world cup victory as the game was tied in need of a super over victory to claim the title which was bowled by Archer.

Adil Rashid - Rashid has been named as a role model for thousands of young Asian cricketers. He has previously said, that whilst he accepts himself as a role model, he does not think that it puts pressure on him, saying "It's a nice feeling knowing that kids look up to me knowing that if they train hard they can do what I have done." Performing to the highest level and staying engaged with his local community, Rashid embodies the quality of an impactful role model.

In England's tour of West Indies in 2019, Rashid was selected in all three squads. In April 2019, he was named in England's squad for the 2019 Cricket World Cup and was selected for every game. On 21 June 2019, in the match against Sri Lanka, Rashid played in his 150th international match for England.

British Army Sportswoman

Caroline Dubois – Caroline's passion and dedication to boxing is undoubtable when reviewing an early life anecdote. She first wanted to train and compete in boxing, girls were not allowed to fight at Repton Boxing Club in Bethnal Green, as an eight-year-old Dubois posed as a boy named 'Colin' as a child in order for her to be able to participate. Dubois has never cared or allowed societal stigma or barriers to prevent her from fulfilling her dream of being a boxing sensation.

In 2019, Dubois was awarded gold at the European Youth Championships, which were held in Bulgaria, for the fourth successive time. Caroline Dubois became the national, European, World and Olympic lightweight female champion for boxing in 2018, titles which she retains. Dubois remains undefeated as an amateur boxer, with 40 fights under her belt.

Dina Asher-Smith – Dina Asher-Smith is the fastest British woman in history, using her status as a renown athlete Dina continually brings key issues surrounding race to the forefront through her social media and wider media platforms when being interviewed. Dina continually highlights the importance of equality by using her own success story as proof of what is possible when society measures merit over colour.

Asher-Smith took home the gold medal for the 200m sprint at the 2019 World Championships in Doha, setting her personal best and a new British record of 21.88 seconds. At the same event, she took home two further silver medals, in the 4 x 100m relay, setting a new British record in the 100m sprint with 10.83 seconds. Her achievements at the Doha World Championships made her the first female British sprinter (over 100m or 200m) to win an individual medal in the world championship since 1983. 

Kadeena Cox MBE - Kadeena Cox MBE in a para-sport athlete competing in T38 sprints and C4 para-cycling events. Kadeena began her career as an able-bodied athlete, in 2014 she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Cox has previously stated that as a black female living with a disability, she is in a small minority. She wants to inspire the next generation of Para-athletes from different backgrounds.

Coming back from a severe injury at the end of 2017, Kadeena Cox won the silver in the T38 400m world title at the Para-Athletics Championships Dubai in November 2019.

The UK Sport Inspirational Performance of the Year

Sannah Ahmed – Sannah is not only a BAME role model but a wider inclusivity role model, her dedication to boxing despite the social and physical challenges that lay in front of her is truly worthy of awe. Sannah is an inspiration to many women of colour highlighting you need not meld yourself into conforming to a certain type in order to be an athlete, staying true to yourself and having the spirit of a champion is what is key.

Sannah is a Scottish Muslim who wears a headscarf, dresses modestly and lives with a series of debilitating health conditions. The 25-year-old was born with Albinism, a condition which affects the colour of her hair, the pigment in her skin and has caused a serious visual impairment. However, she has never let these points hold her back and overcame many barriers to take part in her first official bout in a 2019 exhibition match in Glasgow. ​

Khadijah Mellah – Khadijah joined Ebony Horse Club after her mum came across a leaflet in a local Mosque. Kadijah was the first hijab-wearing jockey in a competitive British horse race (Magnolia Cup). This came as a surprise to many upon learning that Khadijah had only first even sat on a horse in April of 2019, she has become a real source of admiration to many British Muslim women.

Despite her being wholly new to horse-riding, incredibly she won the race on her mount Haverland. Horse riding has historically had its own social limitations which Khadijah truly tore down with the aid of Ebony Horse Club, her talent and dedication are truly inspiring for BAME women across the country.

Karenjeet Kaur Bains - In 2019 Karenjeet she made history as the first Sikh woman to represent Britain at the World Classic Powerlifting Championships. Karenjeet went on to win a total of three gold and two silver medals in the juniors category of ladies competition in the Commonwealth games​.

Karenjeet was the first British Sikh female to represent Great Britain at the IPF World Championships. She was also crowned the Commonwealth women's junior under-63kg champion in St Johns, Canada. Karenjeet continually breaks any misconceptions that weightlifting is for men rather than women and being a BAME woman she is challenging many normative and outdated views surrounding women in sport.

England Athletics Coach of the Year Award

Paula Dunn MBE - As a former sprinter Paula has attained many accolades; she represented Great Britain in all three events at the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul. She is a five-time Commonwealth Games medalist, including winning silver (1986) and bronze (1994) in the 100 metres. Having now turned her attention to coaching, Paula continues to advocate for BAME inclusion and visibility in the sport and physical activity sector.

Dunn began working for UK Athletics in 2001 and was appointed Paralympic performance manager in 2009. After London 2012, she was promoted to the position of Paralympic head coach, replacing Peter Eriksson. She is the first female head coach appointed by UK Athletics aiding in the development and inclusion of Paralympians in the sport and physical activity sector.

Riteesh Mishra - A star of the academy at Nottingham Forest in his hometown, the young midfielder had his career cut short when a double leg fracture destroyed his playing career. A decade on he is England's highest-level British Asian manager, with such little representation of British South Asians in sport Riteesh is a trailblazer for his accomplishments in the field of football.

He is currently the manager of Charlton Athletic Women, having elevated the team's position significantly. Riteesh is also the Founder of, “The Transition Phase” a specialist initiative that helps athletes develop their transferable skills to thrive in career transition/dual careering.


Fitzroy Davies - Fitzroy is a long-standing coach who has performed consistently well over many years producing many high-level athletes, his greatest achievement being the 2005 Men's -60KG Senior World Champion, Craig Fallon.

Currently, Fitzroy is coaching Kelly Petersen-Pollard, her international results are a very impressive set as follows for 2019: European Junior Championships Vantaa 2019 Gold, Berlin Junior European Cup 2019 Gold, Paks Junior European Cup 2019 Gold, Leibnitz Junior European Cup 2019 Gold, Celje Podcetrtek European Cup Gold, Lignano Junior European Cup 2019 Cup Silver and Coimbra Junior European Cup Silver. Fitzroy uses player-centred coaching methods which clearly yield remarkable results.

Youth Sport Trust Young Sports Person of the Year

Ellie Downie – Ellie is one of Britain's most successful female gymnasts, at only 20 years old Downie has placed herself as one of the finest gymnasts in the world at the 2017 European Championships. Ellie is the first British gymnast to win all-around gold at a major championship, she began 2019 by winning the British all-around title for a second time, before winning all-around silver at the European Championships in Poland. Most recently, at the 2019 World Championships, she produced two brilliant vaults to win bronze, her first world individual medal.

Ellie has been a fantastic role model to young BAME individuals across Britain having made history for team GB whilst continuing her studies. Her involvement in empowering initiatives like POW! Academy Downie has cemented herself a positive female role model for young BAME women to aspire to be.

Rohan Bhuhi – Rohan Bhuhi has made a name for himself in the field of hockey, he made his England Hockey Premier League debut at the age of 16 with Loughborough Students. At the age of 9, he won the player of the tournament at England Hockey National Youth Festival, showing the promise at a very early age.  He was voted player of the tournament in under 13 level representing British Asian Hockey Association (BAHA) at a National tournament.​

Rohan's pinnacle of achievement was in 2019 when he won the Gold medal with GB Under 21 team in Sultan Johor Cup (Malaysia) and in the same year he was capped by England at Under 21 level. Rohan balances all this alongside studying for a degree in computer science.  Highlighting the importance of discipline, passion and balance Rohan is an excellent role model for young BAME people.
 

Aaliyah Powell - Aaliyah Powell found her calling with Taekwondo when she was just nine years old, as she was passionate about doing an Olympic sport. ​Having grown up with her sister training alongside Jessica Ennis-Hill Powell found herself immersed in the world of sport and was sure that she would become part of the elite level athletes, pushing herself to reach that status from a very young age.

In 2019 she became Great Britain's youngest senior World Championship medalist at the Manchester Arena, taking bronze. ​Aaliyah Powell became one of the youngest female athletes to join GB Taekwondo's World Class Performance Programme. Highlighting that with drive and passion anything is possible, a great message to relay to other aspirational BAME youths.

LTA Community Tennis Project of the Year

Khizra Masjid & Communities for All (Manchester) - Khizra Masjid is believed to be the first Mosque in the country to have hosted tennis activity.  They now deliver regular tennis sessions to both male and female participants, introducing the sport to people who have never engaged with it before and having a positive impact on behaviour, health and confidence.  Their female SERVES tennis activators took part in an LTA SERVES & LTA She Rallies workshop with Judy Murray, which has resulted in new women and girls focussed activity taking place.

Pro Touch SA CIC (London) - Pro Touch SA is a charitable social enterprise that manages both an Academy and Community programmes across London. They have engaged over 1000 young people in SERVES tennis sessions across housing estates, youth clubs and holiday programmes.  Over 75% of these are from BAME backgrounds, with a large proportion coming from deprived communities.  Tennis was not something many were used to seeing, but the impact of the SERVES programme means it is now a priority activity for Pro Touch SA.

Young Asian Voices (Sunderland) - Young Asian Voices is a charity that works with BAME young people, including refugees and asylum seekers, addressing gaps in provision for these communities in what is an area of high deprivation. Despite many of the young people never having had access to the sport and initially thinking tennis wasn't for them, they now love the weekly SERVES sessions.  The sessions have helped young people develop increased respect and self-confidence and supported them around wider challenges such as language and cultural barriers.

 

Unsung Champion of the Year

Gian Singh Cheema - For the last 35 years, Gian has worked as a volunteer at the Warley Weight-lifting club, West Midlands club staying in touch with the sport as a volunteer behind the scenes. Cheema supports where he can as a qualified referee and coach, and helps out at competitions he has been with Warley weightlifting club since 1970, as an athlete, and volunteer for nearly 50 years. His only goal is to take young people away from the streets and provide them with discipline, safety and healthier living.​ Despite having a very successful career in weightlifting himself, Gian never turned his back on his club or the individuals at the club who needed uplifting and supporting – a true pillar to his community.

Khadijah Zaidi - Khadijah first joined Cycle Sisters (a Muslim women's cycling organisation) in 2017 when she wanted to build her own on-road cycling confidence and start commuting. Very quickly it was clear that Khadijah had great potential for developing as a Ride Leader for the group and she did her training later that year. Since then Khadijah has volunteered regularly with Cycle Sisters to support Muslim women to cycle, as well as volunteering for another women's cycling organisation called JoyRiders. Khadijah's continuous work to break down societal stigmas around BAME women in sport is one of note, she saw the problem and without hesitation devoted herself to remedy it.

Steve Bertie - Steve Bertie who has a Black British/Caribbean heritage has spent much of his life devoted to Table Tennis. He originally came from Continental Stars Table Tennis Club and now has continuously been running a local club voluntarily for just over three years. Based at the Holford Drive Sports Hub Steve has motivated, uplifted and pushed both the players and the club as a whole to raise the profile of Table Tennis in Great Britain. Steve himself has spent over 40 years playing the sport and received multiple accolades, however, he sees the greatest benefit he can give is by investing his time and energy into his club. In a world where so few people look to pay forward their experience, skills and time Steve's contribution are greatly appreciated by all those who know him.

Sport England Community Sports Project of the Year

Khalsa Football Federation & Panjab FA- The KFF network of clubs have been providing Grassroots to the local Punjabi community for over 55 years and have doubled youth football in the last 3 years to over 60 teams in 2019 including the introduction of girls football last year. The merger with the Panjab FA was undertaken with multiple aims in mind but with the common shared goal of increasing participation for British South Asians in football, it became clear this merger was pivotal. With 300 new participants, the introduction of multiple girls' teams and a real investment in youth participation the work being done by this organisation is truly staggering.

Ebony Horse club- Based in Coldharbour Ward, Brixton South London – one of the most disadvantaged inner-city neighbourhoods in the country. The area has a history of under-achievement in schools, high rates of teenage pregnancy, gang violence and drug-related crime. High rates of illness, both mental and physical, add to the seriousness of the situation. ​Ebony Horse Club allows youths to benefit from the powerful, life-changing influence that contact with horses can bring. They also mentor children through issues that can profoundly affect their ability to achieve later in life. Through the support and experiences available Ebony Horse Club, their members are encouraged to exceed their own expectations. Many are inspired to go on to college, university or horse-related careers. ​Ebony Horse Club's dedication to the protection and uplifting of BAME children in this disadvantaged area is commendable and truly inspiring.

Onna Ju-Jitsu- The club is the largest traditional Ju-Jitsu club in the U.K. with its founder Sensei Mumtaz Khan being the highest-ranked female BAME instructor holding a 6th-degree black belt. The club is quite unique in that it has a 50:50 ratio of male: female participants and has more female black belts compared to males in a sport usually dominated by men. Having female coaches delivering female-only sessions has enabled many Muslim girls/women to engage in the sport and it is widely supported by the local community with most of its members joining through word of mouth referrals.

 

Public voting will close on the 8th March 2020, cast your vote now by clicking here!