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29th Jun, 2022

Sports stars honoured at prestigious celebration

Stratford Editorial 22nd Jan, 2019 Updated: 23rd Jan, 2019

MORE than 300 guests enjoyed a hugely successful 2019 Stratford District Sports Awards, organised by Stratford District Council in partnership with Everyone Active.

The Sports Awards, now in their 17th year and hosted by Stratford Play House, celebrated the sporting achievements of clubs and individuals across the district and recognised the valuable contributions made by volunteers, parents and coaches.

The event was hosted by Olympian swimmer Steve Parry, who won the bronze medal in the 200m butterfly at the 2004 Athens Olympics.

The Senior Sports Person Award was given to both Andrew Pozzi of Stratford Athletic Club and bodybuilder Max O’Connor.

Pozzi had an exceptional year, the highlight of which was becoming World Indoor 60m hurdles champion in March in Birmingham. Pozzi, the first British athlete to win the title since Colin Jackson in 1999, also finished sixth in the 110m hurdles final at the Commonwealth Games and the European Championships.

O’Connor has been attempting to win the National Amateur Body-Builders’ Association Mr Universe competition since 2011 and this year he achieved his goal and won the crown. Many people do not even get the chance to compete for Mr Universe, let alone win the title.

The Junior Sports Person Award was presented to Lewis Byng of Stratford Athletic Club. The shot put ace has achieved first place in a number of national competitions including the School Games, UK U17 Championships and England Athletics U17 Championships.

He was also selected to represent GB at the European Championships in Hungary, where he achieved seventh position.

The Junior Para-sports Person Award was given to Sophie Evans-Lee (Riding for the Disabled) who competed at the RDA Regional Finals and, despite a nasty fall in the dressage test, she managed to carry on and finished first in the Countryside Challenge.

This resulted in Evans-Lee gaining the highest score for the Warwickshire region and retaining the Rosemary Stretch Trophy. She finished sixth at the RDA Nationals held at Hartpury when representing Stratford RDA.

Lee Powell, of the Warwickshire Bears wheelchair basketball team, won the Senior Para-sports Person Award. He is club captain of the Bears and led the first team to the British Wheelchair Basketball League First Division South title to achieve promotion into the Premier League. Powell is an inspirational captain and is always encouraging other members of the club.

The Coach or PE Teacher Award was given to Kelly McCormack of Stratford Thunderbirds Netball Club. She is the head coach and is passionate about girls’ participation in competitive netball.

McCormack spends countless hours organising teams, entering them in tournaments and fixtures as well as supporting players on the England Netball Pathway. Her coaching has led to an extremely successful year for the Thunderbirds in the Coventry & Warwickshire League and Birmingham Intermediate League.

The Volunteer of the Year Award was won by Trevor Sale who is a great asset to the Bears wheelchair basketball club. His contribution to wheelchair maintenance and repairs ensures players are available to train and play matches.

Sale fixes the wheelchairs players use every day which saves individuals the cost of repairs and time waiting for repairs to be completed. Alongside this, he has raised money for the club and assists with the set-up and scoring of matches.

Stratford Athletic Club junior track and field team’s fabulous form in 2018 meant they were presented with the Junior Team of the Year Award, in what was a very competitive category. The same club’s senior track & field team walked away with the Senior Team Award after winning promotion to Midland League Division Three.

The prestigious Service to Sport award went to David Kirby for his outstanding commitment to Shakespeare’s Swords fencing club, particularly through his coaching and education of coaches.

He provides formal and informal opportunities for individuals to develop their coaching skills and this has given others inspiration to continue and give back to the sport they have achieved so much in already.

He has coached individuals to World Cup events and European and World Championships. Kirby has now retired from his coaching role but is still in coach development, creating an outstanding coach training centre for fencers and others in the Stratford area. His contribution to sport has been outstanding as a coach, coach tutor and a mentor.

Award winners:

Senior Para-sports Person – Lee Powell (Warwickshire Bears Wheelchair Basketball Club)

Junior Team – Stratford AC junior track & field team

Coach or PE Teacher – Kelly McCormack (Stratford Thunderbirds Netball Club)

Junior Para-sports Person – Sophie Evans-Lee (Riding for the Disabled)

Volunteer – Trevor Sale (Warwickshire Bears Wheelchair Basketball Club)

Senior Team – Stratford AC senior track & field team

Junior Sports Person – Lewis Byng (Stratford AC)

Senior Sports Person – Max O’Connor (Body-building) and Andrew Pozzi (Stratford AC)

Service to Sport – David Kirby (Shakespeare’s Swords)

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