British Olympic and Paralympic stars congratulate Sport Brighton students at awards ceremony
Paralympic great Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson and Olympic gymnastics medallist Beth Tweddle helped celebrate Sport Brighton success as the awards moved online due to COVID-19.
On a night when a prestigious four-year partnership with Team Nike was announced as the new sports clothing partner for the university, seven awards were handed out in a celebration of the 2019/20 season.
Vice-Chancellor Professor Debra Humphris praised the “energy and determination” of students in an opening speech, before Head of Sport Barry Squires led viewers through the ceremony.
The awards also featured messages from notable sporting alumni Kate Allenby, Olympic bronze medalist in the modern pentathlon and Ragheb Aga, former Kenyan and Sussex cricketer.
Taking home the coveted Team of the Year prize was men’s basketball, after the side beat Brunel in a final game nail-biter to claim the BUCS 2A league title and win promotion to the top tier of the sport’s university ladder.
That success was followed by the team’s coach Martin Catterick being announced as the Coach of the Year award winner. Together with his leadership of the team, Martin also helps students gain coaching placements and has links with coaches in the NBA for student scholarships.
Having won the British Athletics Indoor Championships 1500m title with a superb performance in Glasgow to become national champion in February, Sport and Exercise Science student and Sport Brighton Sports Scholar George Mills was awarded the Outstanding Achievement prize.
The Brighton arm of the netball team was presented with the Philanthropy award having hosted a number of charitable events, including the Legacy 300 event which saw them working alongside England netball coaches to help develop young players. The team also raised close to £1500 for the YMCA sleep easy event.
Club of the Year went to Eastbourne’s Cheerleading squad, having placed first in the co-ed level 2 national universities competition, despite last minute injuries forcing a change in routine.
The final two prizes were awarded to Waves Cheerleading, a squad made up of students from the University of Brighton, University of Sussex and Brighton and Sussex Medical School, which is run jointly by both institutions.
Tianna Patel, who was elected as Vice-President before stepping up to the top role, was named Administrator of the Year having managed six competition squads of over 140 members.
Lauren Scott won the Volunteer of the Year award having coached and choreographed routines for the entire club.
In a video message, Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, Britain’s 11-time Paralympic wheelchair racing gold medallist, said “we are in slightly strange times at the moment but stay safe, stay well, and good luck getting back to competitive sport” while former world gymnastics champion Beth Tweddle congratulated students and urged them to “keep up the hard work, ready for next year”.
Squires said: “This is usually a fantastic night of celebration where we recognise and reward the talents and dedication of our student athletes, coaches and volunteers. But for this year as we are delivering the awards remotely so I don’t have the pleasure of meeting many of you in person.
“As we all are aware the impact that COVID-19 has had on the world is unprecedented and in our sphere of student sport this is no different. Seasons have been cut short, leagues have been suspended and in some cases such as our cricket teams not one ball has been played.
“Looking forwards, how sport is modified to allow us to compete again within BUCS is currently unknown but rest assured the team are working hard to understand, plan and implement the necessary measures so we can deliver activity whilst ensuring the safety of our students and wider members.”
Coach of the Year | Martin Catterick (Basketball)
Most Outstanding Achievement Award | George Mills (Athletics)
Philanthropy Award | Netball (Brighton)