THEY are nominated for seven awards and have at least 30 people occupying three or four tables at tonight’s Leeds Sports Awards.
And City Of Leeds Diving Club coach Ady Hinchliffe says it’s the club of the year accolade that his thriving group want best. Over 600 people will attend tonight’s ceremony at New Dock Hall which is the 12th Leeds Sports Awards and the most popular yet.
Tanya Arnold will host the event for the fourth year running and it’s a fair bet the BBC sports reporter will be putting the microphone to a fair few divers. Jack Laugher and Rebecca Gallantree are shortlisted for the sportsman and sportswoman of the year award respectively while Leeds team-mates Alicia Blagg and Lois Toulson are locked in a private club battle to be named young sportswoman of the year.
Matty Lee is also shortlisted for the young sportsman accolade while Hinchliffe is nominated for the coach of year award. Yet the diving teacher extraordinaire says it’s the club of the year gong that highlights the achievements of the city’s Commonwealth Games that carries extra importance.
England’s Glasgow 2014 Commonwealths diving team had six members from the City Of Leeds Diving club – Laugher, Gallantree, Blagg, Chris Mears, James Denny and Hannah Starling – and all six medalled.
It means there will be an extra loud cheer should they be announced winners at New Dock Hall.
Hinchliffe told the YEP: “To be honest I am very humbled by it and if we win any of them then it’s always a fantastic thing. But being nominated is an accolade enough and I looked at the list of who Jack is up against and it’s just fantastic. Every one is absolutely outstanding in their own right.
“I guess the one that I’m really excited about is the club one because we put the club one forward only because all the guys that went to the Commonwealth Games from the club all medalled and I thought that was quite special.
“We had six divers on the England team from the Leeds diving club and all six of them came home medals which was quite an achievement. That’s my favourite. If there’s one that really stands out, it’s that for me but just the fact that we are there, we are really happy with that.
“We try to support the awards because I am a big fan of them and I think they are brilliant celebration of sport generally in the city and Sarah Crossley is part of the organising team with Banana Kick and she is based in our office and our administrator so I want to support her.
“I know they have got over 600 people coming this year which is a great achievement.”
Leeds gymnast Nile Wilson says it’s a “privilege” doing battle with Josh Warrington, Alistair Brownleee and Jack Laugher for tonight’s sportsman of the year award.
Wilson, Laugher and Brownlee have the Rio 2016 Olympics on their agenda whilst Warrington is eyeing up a shot to become featherweight world champion of the world, yet there is no hiding the prestige of the Leeds Sports Awards.
Wilson beamed: “It’s great to be recognised. I compete for Great Britain but I am always representing Leeds. I’m a Leeds lad at heart. To be up for that main award with all those names as well is a great privilege and I am really excited to be there.”
Full list of nominees – Senior Achievers, Sponsored by Provident Personal Credit – Sportswoman: Laura Weightman, Nicola Adams MBE, Rebecca Gallantree, Vicky Holland. Sportsman: Alistair Brownlee MBE, Jack Laugher, Josh Warrington, Nile Wilson; Sportswoman – Disability: Hannah Cockroft MBE, Penny Andrews, Sophie Carrigill; Sportsman – Disability: Ali Jawad, Antony Cotterill, Kim Daybell; Club/Team - Professional: Hunslet Hawks RLFC, Leeds Rhinos RLFC, Yorkshire County Cricket Club; Club/Team – Non Professional: City of Leeds Diving- England Commonwealth Divers, Leeds Gymnastics Club.
Young Achievers, Sponsored by Leeds Trinity University – Young Sportswoman: Alicia Blagg, Lois Toulson; Young Sportsman: Jacob Fincham-Dukes, Loukas Jones, Matty Lee; Young Disability Sportsperson: Danielle Bailey, Izzy Palmer, Kizzy Blue Wade; Young Club/Team: City of Leeds Age Group Swimming Team, Grammar School at Leeds U16 Netball Team, Oulton Raiders Under-15 Invaders; Junior Sportsperson U14 – In association with Breeze: Alexandra Turner, Jake Johnson, Joe Fairburn.
Special Contribution, Sponsored by Leeds Beckett University – Student Sport: Beth Picott, Leeds Beckett University Hockey Club; Coaching: Adrian Hinchliffe, Andrew Henderson, Dave Murray, Gary Donoughue, Richard Denigan; Sport Volunteer: Amy Walker, Ann Hart, John Johnson; Services to PE & School Sport: Andrew Morley, Graham Thornton, Laura Singleton, Penny Speers; Outstanding Service to Sport: Dennis Nicholson; Asda Sporting Hero – Sponsored by Asda: Ashleigh Long, Lee Clegg.
THE Yorkshire Dance Youth Company and also ten-year-old dancer Junior Frood will entertain at tonight’s awards.
Frood recently performed with X Factor winner Sam Bailey on her UK tour. There are over 20 awards in total with the ceremony having a new title sponsor this year in Asda. Ticket sales closed on Tuesday.