Mirror Pride of Sport Awards winner Jo Pavey sees a golden future for British … – Mirror.co.uk

The golden era for British athletes is not about to end. The likes of Mo Farah, Jessica Ennis-Hill and Greg Rutherford have followed up their triumphs at the London 2012 Olympics with gold medal glory at last week’s World Championships in Beijing.

And the future is brighter than ever for the nation’s young athletes as they prepare for the Rio Olympics in 2016.

According to long-distance runner Jo Pavey, who claimed 10,000 meters gold in the 2014 European Championships in Zurich, a Great Britain team brimming with ability and confidence has its sights on a medal haul that began with London 2012.

Pavey, who became the oldest female European champion when she secured her medal last year at the age of 40 years and 325 days old, is excited for the latest crop of young British stars.

“The kids called me ‘Granny’ in Zurich,” she said. “It was a bit of banter because it was the oldest I’d ever been in a team and there were so many of them who were in their early 20s, but they’re young, determined and enthusiastic. It really inspired me.

“I’m looking forward to the future. These athletes are doing so well, and the likes of (100 metres sprinter) Dina Asher-Smith are very exciting to watch. As are the likes of Greg Rutherford and Jess Ennis-Hill still.”

Pavey was talking at the launch of the Mirror and Sport England Pride of Sport Awards 2015, which recognises the unsung heroes of sport across the country, as well as ground-breaking figures and athletes fighting adversity.

Her gold medal success last year, which came after Pavey had given birth to her second child, helped her deservedly win the Inspirational Performance award at the event.

She would be delighted to see one of the golden heroes of Beijing follow in her footsteps by scooping this year’s award.

“I thought 2014 was definitely going to be my final year,” Jo said.

“I’d been trying at my sport for so many years and never achieved a gold medal, so finally achieving my goal over the age of 40, while being a busy mum and coming back from having a baby, was unusual to me.

“Now the massive target is to try to make my fifth Olympics in Rio.”

This year, as well as the Inspirational Performance of the Year trophy, the awards features 10 other categories (see below).

“It was quite a humbling evening last year,” said Pavey.

“It was an honour to be in the room with athletes who had overcome adversities and those who have helped make sport happen for other people – the volunteers, people without whom I wouldn’t have even had a chance of taking part in a sport that I loved.”

There’s been other good news for Pavey, too.

Earlier this month it was announced that she might receive a retrospective 2007 World Championship bronze medal after it was revealed that doping allegations surrounding Turkey’s silver medallist, Elvan Abeylegesse, were being investigated.

In pictures — Farah completes ANOTHER Worlds gold double:

“It’s bittersweet,” she said. “It would be thrilling to get the medal that would be rightfully mine, but you feel very upset about missing the moment.

“I remember I’d got so close and I was laying on the track at the end and I couldn’t have given any more. I was pretty disappointed because I thought that was my chance for a world medal.

“Looking back at that time that would have been a day for massive celebration.”

If Pavey’s optimistic outlook is anything to go by, the senior long-distance runner and her GB teammates might have plenty more celebrating to do come Rio 2016.

“We are delighted that the ‘Pride of Sport’ awards will celebrate all those people who make sport happen in their communities. Whether it is playing, leading or volunteering, community sport couldn’t thrive without the people who readily give up their time, and these awards give us the opportunity to say thank you” — Jennie Price, Chief Executive, Sport England

CATEGORIES OPEN FOR NOMINATION

Today, we launch the 2015 Pride of Sport Awards – and we want you to be part of them. We’re looking for the heroes of grass roots sport. The men and the women who dedicate their lives to their local teams and sports clubs and the athletes who produce incredible performances to inspire the nation.

We’re delighted to have teamed up with Sport England in staging these awards. You can read below the individual prizes and how you can send in your nominations.

Lifetime Achievement Award To celebrate an individual sports star who has made a significant contribution to their sporting discipline over a sustained period of time.

Inspirational Performance of the Year To recognise an individual whose performance in the last year has created a must-see moment and inspired a nation.

Coach/Manager of the Year with Ladbrokes To recognise a manager or coach whose hard work has made a significant contribution to the success of their team or club.

Young Sports Person of the Year To recognise an outstanding individual who has performed way beyond their years and undoubtedly shows signs of being a world class sports star which Britain can be proud of. Nominees must be 18 years old or under on October 23, 2015.

Local Hero Award To recognise an individual who has worked tirelessly to make an impact on sport in their local community. Your local hero could have washed kits for 30 years to ensure the team looks its best or be someone who has campaigned to keep a local sports facility open. We want to hear about anyone who has made an impact but seeks no praise or recognition for this award.

Local Team of the Year For an outstanding sports club that has made a contribution to everyday life in the community.

Volunteer of the Year To recognise an individual who gives up their own time to provide an individual or a team with their help and support.

Sporting Charity Challenge of the Year To recognise an individual or a group who have undertaken an outstanding charity challenge in 2015. It could be for an individual who, despite personal physical challenges has trained and managed to complete their goal. Anyone who has taken on a challenge in the interest of raising the profile of and funds for a charity deserved to be recognised in this award.

Disability Sport Award To recognise an individual who has triumphed over a disability to excel in their chosen sport.

Sport England Community Sports Initiative of the Year To recognise a new community sports initiative that either brings communities together or encourages people who otherwise wouldn’t partake in sport to give it a try!

Sporting Event of the Year To celebrate a sporting event that has made an impact in the lives of many.

The winners will be announced in a ceremony at The Grosvenor House Hotel in London on Wednesday, November 25.

HOW TO NOMINATE

By Post Pride of Sport Awards, One Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London, E14 5AP

Website www.prideofsportawards.co.uk

Nomination deadline: Friday October 23.

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