LEEDS United boss Simon Grayson led the tributes at the eighth Leeds Sports Awards on Monday which the Whites boss said were “fine recognition” of “fantastic achievements” in 2010.
Grayson and rugby star Jason Robinson were among the biggest names at this year’s event - held on Leeds Met University’s Headingley Campus in the impressive Gandhi Hall.
Grayson’s Leeds outfit were named club of the year with Leeds-born Robinson picking up a lifetime achievement award but both were adamant it was those less recognised who were the true stars of the show.
Disability performer of the year Hannah Cockroft was a regular visitor to the stage for breaking seven athletics world records in eight days during 2010 while Bob Jones and Paul O’Donnell were named coaches of the year for their efforts in teaching martial art aikido and golf respectively.
Sports coaching volunteers Juliet Smith, Liam Hirst, Elle Poskett and Steve Eley also landed awards and Grayson feels such accolades were richly deserved.
“These awards are brilliant because they are recognition for people in sports that are not well known in terms of the public eye,” said Grayson.
“They are worthy causes these, fantastic achievements and everybody deserves the recognition and accolades that they have got.
“I’m fortunate in that I get paid to do a job that I love doing.
“Other people spend so many hours dedicated to their sports and we are all here to support them. We do our sports for the love of it really and this is a fine recognition of all that.”
Robinson added: “I think what’s nice to see is that not only sports men and women are getting awards but also volunteers and coaches – there are a lot of people who go out of their way to make you what you are and you can never forget that.”
Winning the player of the year award was squash ace and world number two Jenny Duncalf – badminton star Jenny Wallwork highly commended – while triathlete Jonathan Brownlee and Commonwealth Games gold medalist race walker Johanne Jackson respectively were sportsman and sportswoman of the year.
The city’s brightest prospects were also highlighted with swimming sensation Anne Bochmann named junior sportswoman of the year and triathlete ace Gordon Benson best junior sportsman.
Diving starlet Alicia Blagg was named young sports person of the year with the City Of Leeds Diving Team also named non-professional club/team of the year.
Liz Wilson, chairman of the Leeds Sports Federation, said: “All of the awards are hugely deserved as recognition from the city of Leeds.
“The city is very, very proud.”
Leeds Sports Awards 2010 Roll of honour:
Player of the Year: Highly Commended: Jenny Wallwork (badminton). Winner: Jenny Duncalf (squash).
Junior Sportswoman of the Year: Highly Commended – Hannah Starling (diving), Georgia Craven (tennis). Winner: Anne Bochmann (swimming).
Junior Sportsman of the Year: Highly Commended – Daniel White (Aikido). Winner – Gordon Benson (triathlon).
Young Sportsperson of the Year: Highly Commended – Peter Ashley (tennis). Winner – Alicia Blagg (diving).
Trinity student sport award: Winner – Christopher Beckley (football).
Sportswoman of the Year: Highly Commended – Lois Rosindale (triathlon), Claire O’Hara (canoeing). Winner – Johanna Jackson (race walking).
Sportsman of the Year: Winner – Jonathan Brownlee (triathlon).
Disability Performer of the Year: Highly Commended – Claire Cashmore (swimming). Winner: Hannah Cockroft (athletics).
Coach of the Year: Performance: Bob Jones (Aikido).
Coach of the Year – Participation: Paul O’Donnell (golf).
Club/Team of the Year – non-professional: Highly Commended – Leeds Central Aikkido ladies team, City of Leeds Swimming Club. Winner – City of Leeds Ladies Diving Team.
Club of the Year: Winner – Leeds United FC.
Sports Volunteer of the Year: Highly Commended – Juliet Smith, Liam Hirst, Elle Poskett. Winner – Steve Eley.
Outstanding Service to Sport: David Martin.
Lifetime Achievement Award: Jason Robinson (rugby football).