There were big winners at the glittering award night hosted by Nish Kumar, at Hilton London Heathrow on Saturday 6 April. England Athletics help to support this event.
England Athletics Coach of the Year was Haj Bhania. The award was presented to him by former Olympic, World and Commonwealth 400m champion Christine Ohuruogu who also won Gold and Bronze for England at the Commonwealth Games, and Femi Akinsanya who is Coach and Athlete Development Manager for England Athletics. England Athletics CEO Chris Jones commented, "Athletics is a diverse and inclusive sport and this is something we should all recognise and celebrate. Ensuring that we have a diverse and representative coaching workforce at all levels to support athletes and runners of all abilities and backgrounds is also something that England Athletics actively works to promote and that is why we were pleased to support, once again, the national BEDSA awards coach of the year category." Performance sprints coach and previously an England Athletics council member Lorna Boothe was also shortlisted for this award.
Femi told us, "It is a great honour to represent England Athletics at a sports award celebrating the achievement of BAME sportsmen and women. The night was extra special for me in presenting the award to the winner of England Athletics coach of the year. Its vitally important to have these awards where we can have more BAME sportsmen and women as role models for our younger generation to aspire to."
The night was also a memorable one for the World Record Breaking Paralympic wheelchair racer Karé Adenegan winning Youth Sport Trust Young Sports Person of the Year Award. She told us "I ’m really honoured to have won Young Sports Person of the Year at the BEDSAs; celebrating diversity is so important and I hope to use my platform to be a role model for other young BAME Para-athletes."
Raheem Sterling was named The City Livery Club Sportsman of the Year at the coveted Sporting Equals BEDSAs. 2018 was an exceptional year for Raheem after scoring 23 goals in all competitions for Manchester City. A true role model, Raheem Sterling has spoken out against of the media of helping to 'fuel racism' with their portrayal of young black footballers after he was the victim of alleged racist abuse during this season. This was considered a brave step and has contributed to further discussion in combating racism and representation of Black Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) sports people in the UK. Raheem said: "I just want to say thank you for the award it’s a massive honour, Sporting Equals are doing some amazing work...so it’s a massive honour to be associated with them."
Arun Kang CEO Sporting Equals and Founder of The BEDSAs commenting on a wonderful evening said: "The Sporting Equals BEDSA awards never disappoint celebrating the outstanding work of volunteers and communities to the achievements of World class performers like Raheem Sterling and Ama Agbeze. Sporting Equals as a national charity, has ensured these awards are key date in the sporting calendar and important in terms of not only showcasing the excellent work and talent among diverse communities but also highlighting that there is much work still to do to tackle inequalities and under-representation in some areas of sport."
The complete list of winners at the 2019 BEDSAs was as follows:
- England Athletics Coach of the Year - Haj Bhania
- Youth Sport Trust Young Sportsperson of the Year - Karé Adenegan
- The British Army Unsung Champion - Harmander Singh
- UK Sport Inspirational Performance of the Year - Ranvir Singh
- Sport England Community Sports Project of the Year - GirlDreamer: Boarders without Borders
- Spirit of 2012 Connecting Communities Award - Unity Gym
- The LTA Community Project of the Year - British Muslim Heritage Centre
- England Wales Cricket Board Special Recognition Award - National Asian Cricket Council
- The Royal Navy Sports Woman of the Year Award - Ama Agbeze
- The City Livery Club Sportsman of the Year Award - Raheem Sterling
- The FA Special Recognition Award - Kulwinder Singh Johal
- Sporting Equals Lifetime Achievement Award - Brendon Batson OBE
- Sky Media Leadership in Sport Award - Nigel Walker
The BEDSAs is supported by Sport England, UK Sport, The Football Association, The City Livery Club, LTA Tennis for Britain, Youth Sport Trust, England Athletics, The England and Wales Cricket Board, The Royal Navy, Sky Media, The British Army, and Spirit of 2012.