There were some inspirational stories among the winners of the first ever Pride of Sport Awards held at the Grosvenor House on Wednesday. More than 300 VIP guests in attendance including: rugby’s Chris Robshaw, football’s Sam Allerdyce, athletics’ Greg Rutherford and swimming’s Mark Foster and Rebecca Addlington.
They were there to honour heroes of sport, volunteers, local team,s young sportspeople and community projects. The recipient of the Local Hero Award is a particularly inspiring young man. Mohammed Zafran, who after losing his brother-in-law to a fatal stabbing in Birmingham four years ago, went out in search of youngsters up to no good, not to seek revenge but to help give them a chance in life. ‘Zaf’ said “I started going out looking for gangs. I didn’t want any other family to suffer the way my family had suffered.” Now he runs sports groups across the city and has some 8,000 youngsters on his books. Among his latest projects is a women’s academy, which he hopes will empower Asian women through arts and music.
Another winner on the night was Gary Street, coach to the World Cup winning England women’s rugby team. Because most of the team hold down jobs, Street and his team traveled round the country training with the players between work commitments. It was a tough schedule but ultimately it was obviously a winning formula.
Pride of Sport Awards – Full list of winners:
Inspirational performance of the year: Jo Pavey (European 10,000 metres champion)
Coach/Manager of the year: Gary Street (England Women’s Rugby Union)
Young sports person of the year: Giarnni Regini-Moran (Gymnastics)
Local Hero Award: Mohammed Zafran
Local Team of the Year: Senrab Football Club
Volunteer of the Year: Alexandra Goldstone (Charlton Athletic
Charity challenge of the Year: Natasha Lambert, Sailing. For more on Natasha’s story see her official website here.
Disability Sport Award: Will Bailey, Table Tennis
Community Sports Project of the Year: The Boxing Academy, Hackney
Event of the Year: Tour de France – Yorkshire
You can read the full story of the night here.