Budding stars net top awards
TEENAGE sporting heroes were honoured last week at Living Sport s annual Cambridgeshire sports awards, with gymnast Louis Smith winning Sports Personality of the Year. Smith, 18, was crowned British under-18s all-round champion and pommel medalist this ye
TEENAGE sporting heroes were honoured last week at Living Sport's annual Cambridgeshire sports awards, with gymnast Louis Smith winning Sports Personality of the Year.
Smith, 18, was crowned British under-18s all-round champion and pommel medalist this year, while Huntingdon Olympic Gym team-mate Marissa King, 16, claimed the British title on the vault.
Marissa won Young Sports Personality of the Year at the awards on Thursday, sponsored by BBC Radio Cambridgeshire, and Archant, the parent group of The Hunts Post.
Another success for Huntingdon Olympic Gym was Dr Hilary Dixon, a volunteer trainer who guides gymnasts competing at county and regional level, who won the Unsung Hero award.
David Humphrey, 17, who plays cricket for Eaton Socon, won Young Community Volunteer, while Piranhas Swimming Club member Lauren Steadman, 14, from Sawtry, won Sports Performer with a Disability.
Lauren, who has a prosthetic right arm, started competitive swimming last year and won gold medals in all eight events when she competed in the Eastern Region disabled swimming events in Lowestoft.
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She was called up to the GB squad this year and took part in the Danish open in Esbjerg, collecting a gold medal, four silvers and two bronzes. Lauren has also represented the Eastern region in UK schools games, where she won three of her races and set two new UK schools games records. Lauren has won a scholarship to Kelly College in Devon.
Louis is a Commonwealth gold medallist and has twice been European champion, and a bronze medallist at the World Championships in Stuttgart.
He started training at the Olympic Gym aged six and has high hopes for next year's Olympics in Beijing. He was surprised and delighted to win. "I was up against a world champion and I was very happy to win."
Marissa is a member of the national squad and was in the British team winning sixth place at the Stuttgart World Championships. She has trained at the gym for five years. She told The Hunts Post: "Winning was a surprise. I am so grateful to win. The Olympic Gym has great coaches, there are great people there, including the other girls I train with."
Dr Dixon, a paediatrician at Hinchingbrooke Hospital has trained youngsters at the gym for five years.
Olympic Gym trainer, Paul Hall said: "Hilary is very unassuming. She never makes a fuss, she coaches the girl's group and she really is an unsung hero."
He added: "Gymnastics takes a lot of commitment. Some of our athletes train twice a day - 25 hours a week. I am very pleased, delighted. This has been a most successful year for the gym and this recognition makes taking part in the Olympics in Beijing next year more possible."
David has gained representative honours for Huntingdonshire at youth level playing for the county under-17s last season.
He had just returned from a successful season tour to South Africa with Huntingdonshire Cricket 2000, just 48 hours before the awards. At club level last year, he was leading run scorer and 1st XI wicketkeeper. He hopes to study sports science at university. He said: "It was a shock getting the letter saying I had been nominated. I was over the moon to win."
Club spokesman, Chris McKay said: "David never ceases to amaze us. Whenever there is a task to be done, he seems to appear. One day he will be at the club helping to coach youngsters, the next he will be painting sightscreens. He is the first to offer to umpire for the under-13s. We are all very pleased he has been rewarded."
At the presentation ceremony, at Comberton Performance Centre, Goldie Sayers, the Ely-based javelin star, spoke about the Sporting Champions programme where top sports stars visit schools and community events.