The search is officially on to find Leeds’ top sporting stars

Martin Dickson, Marketing Director Leeds City College, Josh Gardner, wheelchair rugby and basketball and Leeds Sports Awards Highley Commended Young disability performer, Jonny Bairstow, Yorkshire and England cricketer, Jason Slack, Funding Officer Hunslet Club.

Martin Dickson, Marketing Director Leeds City College, Josh Gardner, wheelchair rugby and basketball and Leeds Sports Awards Highley Commended Young disability performer, Jonny Bairstow, Yorkshire and England cricketer, Jason Slack, Funding Officer Hunslet Club.

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BOXING’S golden girl Nicola Adams will have a lot on her agenda in 2013 – not least the Commonwealth Games in Manchester.

But the Leeds ace still has time to put her full weight behind next year’s Leeds Sports Awards with the city’s night of celebration close to the boxer’s heart.

Adams, 30, was named Sportswoman Of The Year at this year’s event held at Leeds United’s Centenary Pavilion.

Following a year in which she won a sensational Olympic gold, it was no surprise that Adams picked up the award.

Yet despite having become a household name and even something of a celebrity, the Leeds Sports Awards remain important to Adams who has been helping to promote the 2013 event this week.

In a change from last year, next year’s event will take place at New Dock Hall on Thursday, February 27.

Nominations for the various awards are now open for ten weeks before closing on Friday, December 13.

And just as last year, Adams will be hugely grateful to receive the Leeds public’s support with the boxer one of several big names helping to launch next year’s event this week. Adams admitted: “Winning the Sportswomen of the Year award last year was a great honour and it meant a lot to me. I hope this year the awards are just as successful!”

Another award winner at last year’s event was wheelchair rugby and basketball star Josh Gardener.

Gardener might not be a household name like Adams but therein lies the event’s appeal.

The event also celebrates volunteers, coaches and administrators and this year’s Highly Commended Young Disability performer Gardener said: “The breadth of the awards is amazing and it’s good to see the amazing talent in Leeds. From professional rugby players to local sports coaches, there is a chance for everybody to be recognised for their hard work.”

And Craig Gilmore, of this year’s ‘Outstanding Community Sports Club’ recipient The Hunslet Club, says his organisation are still reaping the benefits of being an award winner today. Said Gilmore: “The legacy of the awards has taken this club to new heights. Our increased profile has helped boost membership and allowed us to do more to help the community we serve.”

The awards – now in their 11th year – have again received the backing of Leeds City College as title sponsor for the third year in a row. The awards have been specifically branded with the tagline ‘Inspiring, Achieving, Celebrating!’ with anyone wishing to make a nomination asked to complete the nomination form online at: www.leedssportsawards.co.uk

Awards will be judged by an independent panel of sporting partners from across the city.

To book a ticket to event or make a nomination, visit www.leedssportsawards.co.uk or email emma@bananakick.com.

Categories for the awards are: Young achiever – under-18s; Young Sportsperson; Young Disability Sportsperson; Young Club/Team; Junior Sportsperson U14 in association with Breeze Active; Senior achiever – over-18s; Sportsman; Sportswoman; Sportsperson – Disability; Club/Team – Professional; Club/Team – Non-professional; Professional Sportsperson; Special Contribution; Award for Student Sport; Coach – Participation; Coach – Performance; Sports Volunteer; Outstanding Service to Sport; Service to PE and School Sport.

To be eligible for awards, individuals must either live within the Leeds City Council boundaries, represent a club or train within the Leeds City Council boundaries or attend a University, College or School within the Leeds City Council boundaries.

Nicola and Marlen pictured together (Instagram @marlen_esparza)

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