Star Comment: Everyone a winner in awards
A huge well done to everyone who was nominated for the Black Country Sport and Physical Activity Awards.
It was an impressive shortlist and every single one of the contenders could have been a worthy winner.
The awards aim to recognise the achievements of individual athletes, coaches, sports clubs and schools, shining stars and behind-the-scenes volunteers, as well as people that go the extra mile for their chosen field.
Members of the public put forward their nominations for the 10 categories included in this year’s awards, two more than last year.
And it was a terrific event, full of moving stories of dedication and talent.
The guest speaker was the impressive former England rugby player Maggie Alphonsi MBE.
The awards are organised by Active Black Country, which is the sporting arm of the Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership.
Previous winners have included Olympic gymnast Kristian Thomas, Jordanne Whiley and fundraisers Suzy Evans and son Owen Richards. Other big names who have won awards include triathlete Jodie Stimpson, paralympian swimmer Ellie Simmonds and marathon runner ‘Blind’ Dave Heeley.
As well as the sports personalities the awards also strive to give thanks to the unsung heroes who don’t often see their name in the headlines when they have done a good job.
There are thousands of people across the Black Country doing fantastic things to inspire people to lead healthier, fun and active lives, from netball to zumba.
Active Black Country want to recognise those individuals and organisations, whether they are coaching future talent, reaching out to less advantaged people, or achieving sporting success of their own.
It is a great initiative and one that the Express & Star is proud to support every year.
Sport is a great part of the Black Country – from some of the most famous football clubs in the world to leading Olympians.
But sport can only happen because of the dedication of people at all levels who work tirelessly behind the scenes.
We have much to thank them for.
We extend our congratulations to all the winners. You truly deserve your success.
But seeing such a brilliant bunch of people in one place shows what a fantastic place the Black Country is to live.
And the real winner in all this is sport.