Comet Sports Awards 2007 winners announced
The Comet Sports Awards winners for 2007 have been announced. All winners and finalists are listed below. For more photos and video of the night follow the link to our sports awards site at the bottom of the page. YOUTH ACHIEVEMENT (girls)
The Comet Sports Awards winners for 2007 have been announced.
All winners and finalists are listed below. For more photos and video of the night follow the link to our sports awards site at the bottom of the page.
YOUTH ACHIEVEMENT (girls)
Winner: Mollie Smith The Marriotts gymnast competed in her first senior international for Scotland in October. She is currently Scottish national junior champion on vault and silver medallist on floor, beam and bars. Anna Collis The 11-year-old from Letchworth Garden City has achieved so much in barely two years of playing badminton. She has already reached the national finals in her age group, is ranked in the top 20 in the country and recently won two golds at a regional competition. Lauren Jones A former star gymnast and trampolinist, she has become an English schools' diving champion after only 16 months in the sport, with four of those out owing to a shoulder injury. She belongs to the renowned Beaumont Diving Academy in Hatfield.
YOUTH ACHIEVEMENT (boys)
Winner: Andrew Henry A talented gymnast already, this Stevenage youngster fought back from a serious accident to resume his successful career at Marriotts. He is now back in full-time training after suffering 30 per cent burns to his torso, arms, hands and face in July in a bonfire accident.
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Gareth Hains A two-time former winner of this award, the Biggleswade karate kid represented his country at the European Championships and won both the cadet (under-21) and senior world titles at the FSKA World Championships among many other honours.
James Sutherland The Stevenage swimmer's progress can be shown by him making the qualification time for the Junior Olympic trials for the 100m backstroke and 50m freestyle. He also competed in the ESSA national championships. He is ranked first in the country in the 50m butterfly and in the top 10 of many other disciplines.
SCHOOL OF THE YEAR
Winner: Sandon JMI This small village school takes sport seriously and regularly does well in county tournaments for sports such as football and tag rugby. The pinnacle of the year was becoming the smallest school ever to qualify for the National Pop Lacrosse Championships where they reached the quarter-finals.
Barnwell School The commitment to sport of this Stevenage school continues to grow in partnership with the local community. Their star students include swimmer James Sutherland and footballer Luke Smith with various football and swimming teams excelling.
The Valley School, Stevenage A secondary special school for pupils with moderate learning difficulties. It teaches a wide and varied number of PE activities following the national curriculum, and has an extensive fixture list as well as extra-curricular clubs.
SCHOOL UNSUNG HERO
Winner: Ann Light One of the guiding lights behind the sporting success of William Ransom Primary School in Hitchin. She gives up every lunchtime to coach or to supervise visiting coaches in activities ranging from lacrosse to table tennis, from netball to football. And there is the little matter of also helping to run after-school clubs!
Sam Harte The John Henry Newman School student recently achieved The Step into Sport gold award for dedicating more than 200 hours of his time to coaching and organising primary and secondary school physical activity. He has fulfilled the roles of community sports leader and partnership coach.
Josh Lucy The Marriotts School student gives up hours of his own time to coach others, be it lunchtime, after school or at weekends. He is also very involved in the MEND programme which has been designed to help overweight youngsters and their families.
Winner: Mick Barr A veteran of nearly 50 years of target rifle shooting, the Knebworth man first captained Hertfordshire before being appointed to captain English and Great British teams for international matches both at home and overseas. He captained the GB vets team to win the Veterans' World Championship in Canada last summer.
Roger Biggs The Fairlands Valley Spartan runner is a former winner of the Sportsman of the Year award. This year saw him fulfil his ambition to become the first Briton to complete a full marathon race in every state of the USA. The 59-year-old's average time was almost exactly four hours.
Jim Brown Another Fairlands Valley Spartan, he is county champ in the 1500m, 5k track, 10k track and marathon as well as winning silver in the 10k road. He serves as press officer for the Stevenage-based Spartans and is also a keen cyclist.
YOUTH TEAM OF THE YEAR
Winner: KMA kata team Previously known as the Kaizen Central kata team, they were the only undefeated team in their discipline in the country in 2007. The team consists of Gareth Hains, Jordan Aisbett, Kim Hughes (when the team needs to be mixed) and Chris Bellairs who has moved from London to Biggleswade to be near the other two boys from the town.
Letchworth GC Eagles under-12 blues The boys from all over North Herts came together as an 11-a-side team at the start of the 2006-7 season. A league and county cup double was completed by beating Bushey Rangers in the final at the County Ground in Letchworth Garden City.
Stevenage Town Rugby Club under-17s The majority of the team have been playing youth rugby in Stevenage since the age of 12 and many played mini rugby before that. After poor results in the early years, they have won promotion in the last couple of seasons and are doing well this season.
SPORTS PERSONALITY OF THE YEAR
Winner: Lewis Hamilton A man who needs little introduction after an extraordinary first season in Formula One. The former John Henry Newman School student was a whisker away from winning the drivers' title in his debut season and the 23 year old looks set to excel in the sport for years to come.
Victoria Pendleton The Stotfold cyclist continues to raise the bar in international track cycling competition as part of the world's number one team. She became a triple world champion in the sprint, keirin and team sprint. The former Fearnhill School student is a role model for youngsters.
Martin Townsend The Hitchin man captained the Great Britain rifle team to a successful defence of the world long range target rifle team championship in Ottawa, Canada, where they set four new world records in the process. He won the first of his four world team championship gold medals in New Mexico back in 1992.
COACH OF THE YEAR
Winner: MBA Cougars basketball coaching team They coach more than 300 boys, girls and men, aged between eight and 24, in Stevenage every week. They go into schools coaching every year group and the community through outreach work in parks engaging some of the hardest to reach and vulnerable youngsters.
MBA Cheerleading coaching team This special team of people work hard to create a fun place for youngsters to learn new skills and all are internationally qualified. They have taken cheerleading into schools since 2004 and coach more than 250 girls and boys a week aged between four and 21.
Terry Penny The coach of the successful Stevenage Town Rugby Club first XV, he has brought fitness and team spirit to his charges. They are unbeaten this season in the league and are looking to reach the county cup final for a third successive season.
THE PAUL PEARCE DISABILITY AWARD
Winner: Gobi Ranganathan The Stevenage man was born with spina bifida but being confined to a wheelchair has not stopped him being successful at swimming and now badminton. His gold medal in the men's doubles at the Four Nations Disabled Badminton Championship is even more remarkable considering he underwent a life-saving operation less than two years previously.
Hitchin Town Ability Counts footballers Last year's winners in this category have not been resting on their laurels. New players have arrived of all abilities and disabilities and training attracts 25 players on Mondays to The Arena in Baldock. Five individuals have now gained FA coaching awards.
The Valley School, Stevenage This is a secondary special school for 170 pupils with moderate learning difficulties. They play in the special school football leagues, as well as tag rugby, basketball/badminton and cricket festivals, and athletics including cross-country.
TEAM OF THE YEAR
Winner: Stevenage Boro Football Club The 2006-7 season saw Boro achieve the honour of being the first winners of a competitive game at the new Wembley. In front of more than 53,000 fans, more than half from Stevenage, Steve Morison's late goal saw them come from two down at half time to snatch a sensational late victory in the FA Trophy final in May.
Letchworth Ladies' first XI cricket team The ladies have gone from strength to strength since merging with Letchworth CC in 2004. They will start the season in Division One of the Women's Southern League - two divisions higher than when they began - and are the best ladies' cricket team in Hertfordshire. The team contains three Herts county junior players in their senior side.
Stevenage Town Rugby Club first XV With 10 of the successful first XV squad products of the club's mini and youth programme, Terry Penny's high-flying team has very much a local feel to it. Unbeaten in the league so far this season, they are also looking to reach the county cup final for a third successive season.
CLUB OF THE YEAR
Winner: MBA Cougars The MBA Cougars basketball programme covers coaching for youngsters aged eight to 16 and men aged 16-24. A year of expansion has seen the programme develop further - with the honour of being awarded the Queen's Jubilee Award in June - and they are going into partnership with North Hertfordshire College to open the first basketball academy in Hertfordshire this September.
Stevenage Colts FC They are a long established junior and adult football club based in the town. The club has achieved the FA Charter Standard and been awarded the prestigious Charter Standard Club of the Year for Hertfordshire. New teams have been formed this season at under-six, under-seven and under-11 age groups.
Stevenage Town Rugby Club As well as a successful first XV, the club has increased from three to six teams. Known as the Stags, they fund a full-time youth development officer to work in the local community and schools. Mini and youth membership is up 20 per cent this season.
SERVICE TO SPORT
Winner: Jim Briscoe A former professional footballer with the likes of Sheffield Wednesday and Raith Rovers, he has spent his entire life in football. He has been involved with the town's football club since moving to Stevenage in 1968 and was a key figure in Stevenage Boro being founded in 1976. A stroke has not prevented him attending games and he was at Wembley last May in his role as president of the club's supporters' association to see Boro lift the FA Trophy.
Fred McCarthy A stalwart of Stevenage Town Rugby Club, he was on the field for seven decades (1945-2003) as a player and latterly referee. A life member of both Stevenage Town and the Herts RFU, he still carries out admin roles for both as well as Middlesex. He has taken up bowls in recent years and plays both indoors and outdoors.
Martin Townsend A champion rifle shooter who can boast four world team championship gold medals for Great Britain, the last as captain, he has also given plenty back to the sport. This includes coaching the Hertfordshire team and his country to some of their greatest successes over the years.