Leeds Trinity University student Christopher Rushworth and alumnus Kristian Hargreaves have both received 'Highly Commended' awards at the Leeds Sports Awards 2019.
27-year-old Christopher, who is studying Primary Physical Education and Sports Coaching, was shortlisted in the Student Sport category following a successful season as Captain of the University Rugby League team and representing GB Pioneers on tour to Turkey.
Christopher said: "I was initially shocked to be shortlisted, never mind actually getting an award! Representing my country and promoting rugby league in Turkey was a huge honour and it's strange to be getting an award for something I love doing. I've enjoyed leading the boys at Trinity this year and I'm gutted it's nearly coming to an end."
27-year-old Sports Management graduate Kristian was shortlisted in the Special Contribution Volunteer Category in recognition of his work as the University Football First Team Coach. During the four years he's been working with the team, Kris helped to secure two league promotions – enabling the team to compete in the highest league possible, the Northern 1B league.
Kristian said: "It was so humbling to pick up the highly commended award and it's something that I will most definitely be sharing with all my past and current players at the club. It was a fantastic night and amazing to share it with all the talented and dedicated sports people of Leeds. I've had a very memorable four years with the club and the thing I take most pride in, is being able to support the players through their time at University and hopefully make their time with us memorable on the pitch as well."
22 awards were handed out, in front of more than 800 people, at the 16th Leeds Sports Awards on Thursday 28 February 2019.
Rugby League players Connor Davies, Curtis Davies and Sion Jones from Leeds Beckett University picked up the Student Sport Individual Award, whilst University of Leeds Netball Club were named winners of the Student Sport Club Award. Leeds City Athletics Club team manager Susan Partridge won the Volunteer Award.
"It was a fantastic night celebrating the incredible sporting talent across Leeds," said Peter Smith, Chair of Sport Leeds. "We had the first direct arena filled with over 800 guests, with world class athletes rubbing shoulders with the people who make sport and physical activity happen across the city. It's a truly inclusive event and the range of awards and winners reflect that.
"I'd like to congratulate all the winners; the highly commended finalists; and the finalists – their achievements during 2018 were outstanding. I'd also like to thank Banana Kick who led the event on our behalf and all our sponsors and partners for their contribution to making the 2019 Leeds Sports Awards the outstanding event it is."
Leeds Sports Awards is organised by Sport Leeds and Banana Kick. The awards celebrate sporting achievements from the last 12 months as well as contributions from coaches and volunteers from elite performance to grassroots sport.
Other successes from the evening
Boxing World Champion Josh Warrington took home the Sporting Pride of Leeds Award following a hugely successful year which saw him claim the IBF Featherweight title at Elland Road and winning one of the bouts of the year against Carl Frampton in Manchester.
Leeds Rhinos took home four awards of the evening: women's captain Lois Forsell was named Sportswoman of the Year after leading the club to League Leaders' Shield and Challenge Cup glory in their debut season; James Simpson and Jodie Boyd-Ward – both members of the Rhinos wheelchair rugby league team – were named Disability Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year respectively, and Nathan Collins was named Young Disability Sportsman. All three were part of the Rhinos team who stunned favourites Halifax in the Grand Final last September.
Star gymnast Nile Wilson retained his crown as Sportsman of the Year for his five-medal haul at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. His coach, Dave Murray, was named Coach of the Year for his role in the success of Wilson and many members of the Leeds Gymnastics club, including Jack Stanley, who was the Young Sportsman of the Year. Leeds Gymnastics Clubs Juniors were the Young Club of the Year (Performance).
The first ever winners of the Leeds Cares Award for dedication to getting people active in the city, was presented to the Leeds Girls Can Ambassadors. The team of 12 volunteers give up their time to lead events across the city with over 200 women taking part in their 'Couch to 5k' programme in 2018. They also organised a free 12-week boot camp at Middleton Park, numerous free walking groups and bike rides, as well as dozens of taster sessions and over 30 free events on International Women's Day.
Bob Jones – affectionately known as 'Mr. Aikido' was recognised for more than 30 years devotion to the sport of Aikido, with the Outstanding Service to Sport award. Liz Wilson and David Heddon, two of the founding board members of Sport Leeds, were awarded Lifetime Achievement Awards.
Congratulations to everyone!