Ellie Downie and Kadeena Cox celebrate triumphant night at the 2018 BEDSAs
Maro Itoje and Marcus Smith secure Best Sportsman of the Year and Young Sportsman of the Year in a rewarding night for rugby union
Ellie Downie, the reigning European gymnastics Champion and Kadeena Cox, the UK's leading female Paralympian were the big winners at a glittering awards show hosted by Sir Lenny Henry, at the Grosvenor House hotel, London on Saturday 24th March.
Ellie Downie was named Royal Navy Sports Woman of the Year after becoming the all-around European gymnastics champion and the first gymnast to win a major all-around title for Great Britain in 2017. Commenting on her first win at the BEDSAs and following in sister Becky's footsteps Ellie Downie said: "A big thankyou to Sporting Equals for hosting the 4th BEDSAs and a very special thanks to everyone who's voted for me. It really means a lot to be named as your Sportswoman of the Year! And congratulations to my fellow nominees as well.”
Kadeena Cox picked up her second BEDSA award, winning the UK Sport Inspirational Performance of the Year award.In a big night for women in sport, the Manchester Womens Sport Programme won the Spirit of 2012 Connecting Communities award, with Permi Jhooti receiving the Jaguar Lifetime Achievement Award.
Permi Jhooti became the first British Asian professional footballer in England playing for the women's teams of London clubs Fulham, Millwall and Chelsea. She has become a FIFA Ambassador and was the inspiration for the smash hit film "Bend it Like Beckham".
The night was also a memorable one for rugby union seeing Saracens,England and British Lions second row Maro Itoje winning the Sporting Equals Sportsman of the Year Award.The promising Harlequins Fly half Marcus Smith was named Youth Sport Trust Sports Person of the Year, whilst the Rugby Football Union Special Recognition award went to Harborne Rugby Football Club and Joseph Chamberlain College.
A special Football Association Recognition tribute was made to the late Cyrille Regis by former West Bromwich Albion teammate and former Deputy Chief Executive of the Professional Footballers Association Brendan Batson OBE, and overseen by the awards host Sir Lenny Henry.
Christian Malcolm , the coach of the successful 4 x 100 metre relay team, who defeated the USA and Usain's Bolt's Jamaican team at the World Athletics Championships in 2017 was aptly named England Athletics Coach of the Year.
The Sport England Community Sports Project of the Year award went to the Singh Sabha Slough Sports, with The Tennis Foundation Serves Community Tennis Project going to the Sikh Welfare Awareness Youth team.
The England and Wales Cricket Board Special Recognition award was presented to “Essex Cricket in the Community” for the first time.
The British Army Unsung Hero was awarded to Tarsem Singh Cheema who has dedicated 52 years to grass roots football.
Arun Kang CEO Sporting Equals and Founder of The BEDSAs commenting on a wonderful evening said: “The BEDSA awards never disappoint celebrating the outstanding work of volunteers and communities to the achievements of World class performers like Maro Itoje, Ellie Downie and Kadeena Cox. They are now a key date in the sporting calendar and important in terms of not only showcasing the excellent work and talent among diverse communities but also highlighting that there is much work still to do to tackle inequalities and under-representation in some areas of sport”
The complete list of winners at the 2018 BEDSAs were as follows:
Youth Sport Trust Young Sportsperson of the Year - Marcus Smith
The British Army Unsung Hero Award - Tarsem Singh Cheema
England Athletics Coach of the Year - Christian Malcolm
UK Sport Inspirational Performance of the Year - Kadeena Cox
Sport England Community Sports Project of the Year - Singh Sabha Slough
Spirit of 2012 Connecting Communities Award - Manchester Womens Sports Programmes
Tennis Foundation Serves Community Tennis Project - Sikh Welfare Awareness Team
England Wales Cricket Board Special Recognition Award - Essex Cricket in the Community
The Royal Navy Sports Woman of the Year Award - Ellie Downie
Sporting Equals Sportsman of the Year Award - Maro Itoje
RFU Special Recognition Award - Harborne RFC and Joseph Chamberlain College
Jaguar Lifetime Achievement Award - Permi Jhooti
FA Special Recognition Award - Cyrille Regis
The BEDSAs are supported by Sport England , UK Sport, The Football Association, The Rugby Football Union, The Tennis Foundation, Youth Sport Trust, England Athletics, The England and Wales Cricket Board, The Royal Navy, The British Army, Jaguar and Spirit 2012
Click on link to see coverage through SKY sports http://www.skysports.com/share/11304111
Notes to Editors:
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For latest news on the awards and to get involved follow @BEDSAofficial, @Sportingequals and #BEDSA2018
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