Commonwealth stars set for a perfect reception in Leeds

Alistair Brownlee.
Alistair Brownlee.
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The city of Leeds is set to pay tribute to the glittering achievements of its athletes at Glasgow’s Commonwealth Games.

A civic reception will take place next Friday, September 26, in honour of the local stars, Leeds City Council bosses have announced.

The event will be staged in the imposing surroundings of the Ark Royal Room at Leeds Civic Hall.

Attendees are due to include triathlete brothers Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee, boxer Qais Ashfaq and squash ace James Willstrop.

They will be welcomed by the Lord Mayor of Leeds, Coun David Congreve, council leader Coun Keith Wakefield and Coun Lucinda Yeadon, the authority’s executive member for digital and creative technologies, culture and skills. The council’s chief executive, Tom Riordan, will also be attending.

Praising the exploits of the Leeds contingent in Glasgow, Coun Yeadon said last month: “The contribution our athletes made to the incredible success of the Commonwealth Games was nothing short of extraordinary.

“Not only was it fantastic to see household names like Nicola Adams and the Brownlees reaffirm their position at the top of their respective fields, it was also wonderful to see the next generation of talented youngsters emerge.

“Young athletes like Nile Wilson, Alicia Blagg and Rebecca Gallantree established themselves as the stars of the future and have really put the rest of the world on notice ahead of the next Olympics in Rio.

“Our local athletes’ accomplishments are a real endorsement of the facilities we have in Leeds, which have helped their talent to blossom, and I hope their incredible achievements will inspire even more people in the city to get active.”

Next Friday’s reception, which is not open to the public, will also mark the start of the build-up to the Leeds Sports Awards 2015.

The annual ceremony is held to recognise Leeds’s top sportsmen and women as well as the city’s wider sporting community.

This year’s winners included Jonathan Brownlee and Paralympic powerlifter Ali Jawad.

The success of the region’s athletes at the London 2012 Olympics famously meant that if the White Rose county had been classed as a country then it would have finished 12th in the event’s medals table.

But that record was surpassed by Yorkshire’s showing in Glasgow, with its tally of 13 gold, 18 silver and 15 bronze medals putting it sixth in the rankings.

The Broad Acres also finished fourth – ahead of Australia – in terms of golds won per million of the population.

And, even on its own, the city of Leeds fared better than sprint king Usain Bolt’s home country of Jamaica.

SAGA: Sofia Desaraju, then aged 4, joins a protest outside Leeds Civic Hall over school places blackhole. back in 2015. PIC: James Hardisty

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