A PROMISING track and field athlete from Stratford has been recognised for his achievements at a major community sports awards.
Oliver Cresswell has been named Young Sportsman of the Year at the Coventry, Solihull & Warwickshire Sports Awards held at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry.
The event, which is now in its 11th year, celebrates the cream of the sporting scene across Coventry, Solihull and Warwickshire, including those who have made a tremendous contribution to sport in the professional and amateur fields.
A total of 16 award titles were handed out on the night, recognising the achievements of both teams and individuals as well as volunteers and upcoming stars of the future.
Cresswell, who trains at Stratford Athletic Club and was recently crowned the club’s Athlete of the Year, was awarded the prestigious title following an impressive run of results in high jump and hurdling events this year.
The 14-year-old was crowned UK high jump champion for the U15 age group after clearing 1.80m at the England Athletics Championships in Bedford and also gained a silver medal in the 80m hurdles.
Cresswell, who is set to move up to compete at U17 level, also won bronze in the high jump at the U15 Indoor Championships and is the Warwickshire and record holder for high jump.
He said: “I feel blessed to have won the award. It’s amazing and I feel great as I was probably the underdog out of the three nominees.
“I started off playing football but then in primary school I was spotted by my coach Paul Bearman and when I progressed I decided to stop playing football and choose athletics instead, which was definitely the better option.
“I really enjoy the training and the thrill and adrenaline of competing. I have had a fantastic year and my aim now is to continue training as hard as I am and hopefully get to the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.”
Cresswell was one of three Stratford Athletic Club members shortlisted for awards across the Young Sportsman of the Year and Community Coach of the Year categories.
Paul Bearman, the juniors head coach, was nominated for the latter award and he said: “The club’s junior athletes had a great year and the main rival for the Coach of the Year title Job King, who leads the Wheelchair Racing Academy based in Coventry, deservedly won.
“With so many quality nominations, I was really pleased to be on the shortlist of three and I see it as recognition for all the great work done by all the club’s volunteer coaches.”
The club had the amazing situation of two close training partners shortlisted in the Young Sportsman of the Year category in the shape of Cresswell and Dwyer.
The last 12 months have consolidated Dwyer’s position as the UK’s top young high jumper, even though he is in the first year of the under 20 age group.
His year started with a string of strong successes and culminated in being selected to represent England in a competition in Austria.
Despite training for both hurdles and high jump, he concentrated more on the latter and in the outdoor season – in what is a very tough event and age group – Dwyer maintained his position as the UK’s number one U20 high jumper.
The awards evening was a proud moment for Stratford School, which had a healthy representation at the event.
As well as boasting both Cresswell and Dwyer to its name, the Alcester Road school’s girls’ U16 football team were again nominated again for the Junior Team of the Year honour.
In addition, Stratford’s Imogen Green was shortlisted in the new category of Sport Apprentice of the Year.
Tracy Murphy, of CSW Sport, said the awards a fantastic opportunity to showcase the strength of the sporting talent across Coventry, Solihull and Warwickshire.
She said: “The awards are one of the most exciting occasions in our local sporting calendar and once again it was a really competitive field with 44 nominees from a wide range of sporting backgrounds.
“I would like to congratulate all of the winners on their achievements which underline the fantastic sporting prowess we have in our community.
“The awards not only allow us to celebrate talented athletes, but also the volunteers, unsung heroes and future rising stars who dedicate their time and give so much back to sport.”