Leeds sporting stars celebrated at awards night: joshwarrington-102441.jpg

01 Mar 2019

Leeds sporting stars celebrated at awards night


Sent on behalf of Sport Leeds:

Sport at all levels across Leeds was celebrated at a glittering ceremony at the first direct arena on Thursday night.

The 16th Leeds Sports Awards, organised by Sport Leeds and Banana Kick, saw 22 awards handed out in front of more than 800 people, including the likes of boxing World Champion, Josh Warrington, and Leeds United legend, Eddie Gray.

The awards not only celebrate sporting achievements, but recognise the contribution of coaches and volunteers from elite performance to grass roots sport.

Warrington was once again the headline act, taking home the Sporting Pride of Leeds Award following a stunning 2018 that saw him claim the IBF Featherweight title at Elland Road, before winning one of the bouts of the year against Carl Frampton in Manchester.

It was a particularly successful night for Leeds Rhinos. In the Senior Achievers category - awards decided on by a combination of public vote and a selection panel - women’s captain, Lois Forsell, was named Sportswoman of the Year after leading the club to the League Leaders’ Shield and Challenge Cup glory in their debut campaign.

James Simpson – a member of the Rhinos wheelchair rugby league team – was Disability Sportsman of the Year. He was part of the Rhinos side who stunned favourites Halifax in the Grand Final last September, with teammate and Grand Final try-scorer, Jodie Boyd-Ward, named Disability Sportswoman of the Year. Nathan Collins was also part of that success, and was named Young Disability Sportsman.

Star gymnast Nile Wilson retained his crown as Sportsman of the Year for his five-medal haul at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. His coach, Dave Murray, was named Coach of the Year for his role in the success of Wilson and many members of the Leeds Gymnastics club, including Jack Stanley, who was the Young Sportsman of the Year. Leeds Gymnastics Clubs Juniors were the Young Club of the Year (Performance).

The first ever winners of the Leeds Cares Award for dedication to getting people active in the city, was presented to the Leeds Girls Can Ambassadors. The team of 12 volunteers give up their time to lead events across the city with over 200 women taking part in their ‘Couch to 5k’ programme in 2018. They also organised a free 12-week boot camp at Middleton Park, numerous free walking groups and bike rides, as well as dozens of taster sessions and over 30 free events on International Women's Day.

Bob Jones – affectionately known as ‘Mr. Aikido’ was recognised for more than 30 years devotion to the sport of Aikido, with the Outstanding Service to Sport award. Liz Wilson and David Heddon, two of the founding board members of Sport Leeds, were awarded Lifetime Achievement Awards.

“It was a real honour to be at the Leeds Sports Awards to celebrate the achievements of not just our sporting stars, but also importantly so many of our unsung heroes who work so hard in our local communities,” said Leader of Leeds City Council, Cllr Judith Blake. “It promises to be an unbelievable year of sport in our city, and it was amazing to see the impact that athletes from Leeds are having in the sporting world. This includes our very own boxing world champion Josh Warrington who had a sensational 2018, and it was a privilege for me to be able to present him with a massively deserved Sporting Pride of Leeds award.”

“It was a fantastic night celebrating the incredible sporting talent across Leeds,” said Peter Smith, Chair of Sport Leeds. “We had the first direct arena filled with over 800 guests, with world class athletes rubbing shoulders with the people who make sport and physical activity happen across the city. It’s a truly inclusive event and the range of awards and winners reflect that.

“I’d like to congratulate all the winners; the highly commended finalists; and the finalists – their achievements during 2018 were outstanding. I’d also like to thank Banana Kick who led the event on our behalf and all our sponsors and partners for their contribution to making the 2019 Leeds Sports Awards the outstanding event it is.”


Leeds Sports Awards 2019 - Winners

Sporting Pride of Leeds – Josh Warrington

Lifetime Achievement Award – Liz Wilson and David Heddon

Leeds Cares Award – Leeds Girls Can Ambassadors

Senior Achievers – Sponsored by Ringways and Motability

Sportsman of the Year

Nile Wilson

Sportswoman of the Year

Lois Forsell

Disability Sportsman of the Year

James Simpson

Disability Sportswoman of the Year

Jodie Boyd-Ward

Coach of the Year

Dave Murray

Young Achievers – Sponsored by Leeds Bid

Young Club/Team - Community

Corpus Christi Catholic College Year 7 Girls Rugby

Young Club/Team - Performance

The Junior MA and WA Leeds Gymnastics Team

Young Sportswoman

Leah Crisp

Young Sportsman (Over 16)

Hope Price

Young Sportsman (U16)

Jack Stanley

Young Sportswoman - Disability

Charlotte Tate

Young Sportsman - Disability

Nathan Collins

Special Contribution

Student Sport (Individual) – Sponsored by Leeds Trinity University

Connor Davies, Curtis Davies, Sion Jones

Student Sport (Club) - Sponsored by Leeds Trinity University

University of Leeds Netball Club

Club/Team Performance - Sponsored by Leeds City College

City of Leeds Diving Club


Susan Partridge

Outstanding Service to Sport – Sponsored by Impulse Decisions

Bob Jones

Service to PE and School Sport – Sponsored by ImageCo

Charlie Pyatt

Coach (Participation) – Sponsored by Resource

Kris Stafford, Harrison Marshall, Stephen Quinn

Winner’s citations

Sporting Pride of Leeds – Josh Warrington

When Elland Road erupted to acclaim Josh Warrington as the new IBF featherweight champion of the world in May, it marked the pinnacle of a remarkable night for the Leeds-born fighter and our city as a whole. In defeating Lee Selby across 12 pulsating rounds, Warrington became the first man from Leeds to win a world boxing title. Coming into the fight as a 4-1 outsider with the bookies, the University of Leeds graduate produced the performance of a lifetime, showing relentless energy and courage in front of a partisan crowd as he inflicted Selby’s first defeat in nine years and only the second of a glittering career. Warrington’s outstanding first defence of his title against Carl Frampton in Manchester was arguably an even greater achievement and ‘The Leeds Warrior’ will now look to unify the division in 2019.

Lifetime Achievement Award – Liz Wilson

Liz is a tennis fanatic. From being a successful player at Rawdon Golf and Tennis Club, she transferred her skills and enthusiasm into coaching during the 70s. As a fully qualified professional tennis coach she taught in schools in the Leeds District. Over the years she has coached many children and, subsequently, their children. For years, she was a regional tennis performance coach and also represented Leeds on the Yorkshire LTA Council. She was President of Yorkshire Tennis on four occasions between 1999 and 2010. She also served as a Councillor for Yorkshire at the LTA. She was awarded her County Colours by the YLTA.

Liz has also supported the wider development of sport in Leeds. She joined Leeds Sports Federation in 1987, was Chair between 2001 and 2013, and represents the Federation as a member of the judging panel for the Leeds Sports Awards. Liz was also one of the original members of Sport Leeds.

Lifetime Achievement Award – David Heddon

David has always had a passion for sport. Following a 12 year career teaching PE, David joined Sport England, Yorkshire Region in 1976. After 25 years service he retired from the post of Regional Director in 2001. David was the first Chair of Sport Leeds in 2003 and helped steer the organisation through till 2010. David has also worked in leisure management consultancy, assisting many local authorities including Leeds with strategy development and facilitating the development of Leisure Trusts. He was Chair of Kirklees Active Leisure Trust from its inception in 2002 to 2015 and was Director of the English Federation of Disability Sport.

Although now spending more time on the golf course, David still holds a number of voluntary positions, including being a member of the judging panel for the Leeds Sport Awards.

Leeds Cares Award – Leeds Girls Can Ambassadors

This team of 12 volunteers give up their time to lead events across the city with over 200 women taking part in their ‘Couch to 5k’ programme in 2018. They now hold free sessions two or three times per week in five locations in Leeds, with each run by volunteers from run clubs within the city. They also organised a free 12-week bootcamp at Middleton Park, numerous free walking groups and bike rides as well as dozens of taster sessions and over 30 free events on International Women's Day.

Sportsman of the Year – Nile Wilson

After returning impressively from injury at the end of 2017, the Leeds Gymnastics Club star went from strength to strength in 2018. He began the season at the British Championships in Liverpool, winning national titles on the Rings, Parallel Bars and High Bar before representing England at the Commonwealth Games in Australia. The Gold Coast lived up to its name for Wilson who became Commonwealth champion in the men’s Artistic Team All-Around, individual All-Around and Horizontal Bar, as well as taking silver medals on the Rings and Parallel Bars. With World Championships taking place in Stuttgart in 2019 followed by the Tokyo Olympics in 2020, the 22-year old from Pudsey will have ample opportunity to make his mark on the international stage as he continues to prove himself at the very highest level.

Sportswoman of the Year – Lois Forsell

Leeds Rhinos captain Lois Forsell was a driving force behind the success of the team in their debut season in Women’s Super League. She successfully led the side to victory in the Challenge Cup, a game in which she scored the winning try and was named Player of the Match. The England international has also been a crucial part of the Rhinos’ League campaign, helping them to secure the League Leaders’ Shield after topping the final table. A knee injury ended her season prematurely with the Rhinos just missing out on an outstanding treble, yet Forsell was still named joint player of the year. Lois’s day job is as a development officer for the Leeds Rhinos Foundation and her outstanding contribution to the women’s game was recognised recently when she was named the RFL's first women's player ambassador.

Disability Sportsman of the Year – James Simpson

As a former Lance Corporal in the 1st Battalion - The Yorkshire Regiment, James is used to the rigours of battle. It’s a mentality that’s served him well as captain of the Leeds Rhinos wheelchair rugby league side, a game that’s certainly not for the faint hearted. After finishing third in the league, Simpson’s Rhinos side stunned favourites and league leaders Halifax 54-44 in the Grand Final at Medway Park, Gillingham in September. Simpson is also an integral part of the England side and will be on international duty this autumn as preparations continue for the Rugby League World Cup 2021. In June he was unveiled as the first official ambassador for the tournament where he hopes to represent his country in the wheelchair event once again.

Disability Sportswoman of the Year – Jodie Boyd-Ward

Jodie plays wheelchair rugby league for Leeds Rhinos and is part of the England Performance Unit currently building towards the 2021 World Cup. The Leeds-based law graduate has been playing the sport for around ten years, with the last six spent as a key member of the Rhinos squad. After a whirlwind year with many highs and lows, including being diagnosed with a neurological disorder, Jodie helped the Rhinos to a stunning upset victory against Halifax in the 2018 Grand Final, after defeats to the same opponents in the previous two seasons. Jodie may be the only female player in the squad but as her try-scoring performance in the Grand Final proved, she’s more than a match for anyone on a wheelchair rugby court.

Coach of the Year – Dave Murray

As Director of Performance Gymnastics, Dave Murray is one of the driving forces behind the outstanding success of Leeds Gymnastics Club. He is personal coach to Team GB star Nile Wilson, overseeing his return to form after serious injury, culminating in triple-gold for the Pudsey gymnast at the 2018 Commonwealth Games. Dave also coaches Bradford youngster Jack Stanley who made headlines at the English Gymnastics Championships in the Under-14 age group with three golds and two silvers. Jack was also part of the Leeds team who were crowned Men’s Junior British Gymnastics Team Champions for the third year running in July. 2019 will mark 15 years since Dave first became involved with gymnastics in Leeds and with many more talented youngsters waiting to benefit from his expertise, the future is brighter than ever.

Young Club/Team (Community) - Corpus Christi Catholic College Year 7 Girls Rugby

Despite never having picked up a ball before they started training in Year 7 under the guidance of PE teacher James Endersby, the girls from Corpus Christi certainly wasted no time making their mark on the national stage. Remaining unbeaten throughout an entire school year, Corpus Christi went all the way to the Champions Schools Final where they defeated Wade Deacon school from Widnes 24-22 in a thrilling last-minute victory. In doing so, the girls became the first ever Leeds side to bring the national trophy home.

Young Club/Team (Performance) - The Junior MA and WA Leeds Gymnastics Team

Leeds Gymnastics Club Juniors enjoyed their best ever year ever in 2018, dominating not only in Yorkshire but nationally too. Thirteen gymnasts aged 10-15 were selected for the national squad, winning 10 medals between them. The Men’s Artistic Junior team became British champions for the second time in succession, and the Women’s Artistic Junior team were British team bronze medalists. The MA Elite Grade teams won four national team titles and also won the overall trophy as the highest performing club in the country.

Young Sportswoman – Leah Crisp

Leah had a remarkable 2018 in both her sporting and academic careers. In March she competed at the British Championships in Edinburgh where, swimming as a junior, she won gold in the 1500m Freestyle, her first senior medal at national level. Leah also won junior gold in the 400m and 800m Freestyle, qualifying for the European Junior Championships in Helsinki. At the same time as competing, Leah was also working towards her GCSEs where she performed equally impressively, achieving nine A* grades.

Young Sportsman (over 16) – Hope Price

When it comes to role models, young boxers in Leeds couldn’t ask for better examples than Nicola Adams and Josh Warrington. And the future of the sport in our city is already in safe hands. In 2018 Hope Price lit up the world of youth boxing with an outstanding medal haul. After winning World Youth silver and a European Youth gold, the Hunslet Club fighter became the first ever GB boxer to win gold at the Youth Olympics in Argentina to end the year as the most successful male amateur youth boxer our country has ever produced.

Young Sportsman (under 16) – Jack Stanley

As part of the British Gymnastics Elite Performance Squad, Jack is one of the UK’s outstanding young gymnasts. Coached by Dave Murray, Director of Performance at Leeds Gymnastics club, the year 10 student currently trains six days a week. His biggest achievement in 2018 was representing Great Britain at his second international competition in Germany where he came first overall in the U16 Men’s Artistic competition, qualifying for all six apparatus finals, with a final medal tally of three golds, two silvers and a bronze.

Young Disability Sportswoman – Charlotte Tate

As a member of the Great Britain disability trampoline squad, Charlotte trains at the City of Leeds club, where she is coached by Amy Tack. Charlotte has had a hugely impressive career to date winning the title of British Disability Champion for the past three consecutive years. 2018 couldn’t have gone much better for Charlotte as she won every single domestic competition on the circuit. She loves coaching and plans to put some of the skills she has learnt to good use as she studies to become a teacher.

Young Disability Sportsman – Nathan Collins

18-year old Nathan Collins continues to impress in the intensely competitive world of wheelchair rugby league. Nathan was re-selected for the England Performance Unit in 2018 and in October he was presented with his official England Rugby League cap following an outstanding World Cup which saw him named one of the top ten best players in the world. As an integral member of the Leeds Rhinos team, Ryan was part of the side that made history by winning the Grand Final for the first time ever in September 2018. He’s also a member of the Leeds Rhinos Physical Disability Rugby League team.

Student Sport (Individual) – Connor Davies, Curtis Davies, Sion Jones

Connor, Curtis and Sion made an outstanding contribution to Rugby League in 2018, not just to Leeds Beckett University, but also to club and country for Halifax and Wales. All three were awarded their first international caps in 2018, while they also established themselves as first team players at Championship side Halifax, as well as helping Leeds Beckett go unbeaten throughout their regular league season. To cap a fantastic 2018, the boys also helped raise £3,000 for a teammate who was undergoing chemotherapy.

Student Sport (Club) – University of Leeds Netball Club

The University of Leeds Netball Club has created an outstanding volunteer culture, successfully recruiting over 30 volunteers this year, supporting different programmes on campus and beyond. 20 girls have signed up as volunteer umpires, two girls volunteer as Social Sport Activators organising a weekly session for social players who miss out on the senior teams, while nine girls deliver netball in local schools alongside the Leeds Rhinos Foundation. This represents over 1000 hours of collective volunteering across the year.

Club/Team Performance - City of Leeds Diving Club

City of Leeds athletes made up over half of Team England’s diving squad at the Commonwealth Games with Jack Laugher winning a hat-trick of gold medals, Dan Goodfellow became Commonwealth Champion with Tom Daley in the 10m platform synchro and Lois Toulson bagged the first individual platform medal for England in 44 years. At the European Championships Jack again won gold on both 1m and 3m, while Lois became European Champion in the 10m synchro event alongside partner Eden Cheng.

Volunteer – Susan Partridge

As Leeds City Athletics Club team manager, Susan oversees a huge number of competitive athletes and she is a vital part of the team that has led Leeds City to winning and medaling consistently at so many prestigious meetings. Renowned for being the first to arrive and the last to leave, she also makes sure that she watches and encourages every single person competing. A staunch committee member, she gave a great deal of her time to organising the club’s 50th anniversary celebrations at the end of 2017.

Outstanding Service to Sport – Bob Jones

Affectionately known as 'Mr Aikido', Bob has made a huge contribution to the sport over the last 50 years, not only in the UK but internationally too. He was part of the first British Aikido contingent to travel to Japan in 1985, when a team representing Leeds brought home silver at the All Japan Aikido Championships. This laid the foundation for the British National team founded by Bob in 1987. He has taught and coached hundreds of young people in his career, many of whom have gone on to become national and world champions.

Service to PE and School Sport – Charlie Pyatt

As the longstanding School Games organiser for West Leeds, Charlie has spent decades delivering a range of tournaments, coaching sessions and activities that allow all school children to participate and compete. He works tirelessly to support schools, enabling them to provide competitive opportunities for children with varied abilities. His dedication to school sport, not just in his own region but throughout the whole of Leeds, is exemplary and the exceptional quality of the events he oversees has changed the lives of countless children.

Coach (Participation) – Kris Stafford, Harrison Marshall, Stephen Quinn

Gareth Southgate may have been crowned Coach of the Year at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards but it was a different story when he came up against three volunteer rugby union coaches from Otley. The trio scooped the Greatest Coaching Moment of the Year award at the UK Coaching Awards for their achievement in guiding amateur side Old Otliensians to the final of the Junior Vase, a national competition for amateur teams, where they defeated Devon’s South Molton 32-21 at Twickenham.

2019 – Leeds Year of Sport:

In 2019, Leeds will host matches of the ICC Cricket World Cup, the UCI World Championships, the ITU World Triathlon Series, Tour de Yorkshire, an Ashes Test Match and 2019 IFAF Women’s European Championship. To find out more, please see: https://www.visitleeds.co.uk/things-to-do/Sport.aspx#

For media enquiries contact:

Leeds City Council Communications team