Start2Finish Event Management were once again pleased to manage another successful SJA British Sports Awards. The SJA Sports Awards were first staged in 1949 and are the oldest sports awards in Britain. Sponsored by The National Lottery, the event, staged at The Brewery in Central London, was attended by more than 300 celebrity guests from sport, politics and the media.
Emma Raducanu, the US Open tennis champion, Olympic gold medallist Adam Peaty and the men’s England football team are the big winners at the 2021 SJA British Sports Awards, sponsored by the National Lottery.
Teenage sensation Raducanu was voted Sportswoman of the Year, pipping record-breaking Olympic cyclist Laura Kenny (2nd) and record-breaking Paralympian Dame Sarah Storey (3rd). To complete a stellar year for Raducanu, she also took the international newcomer award.
Peaty, Tokyo 2020 breaststroke champion, saw off two-time heavyweight world champion Tyson Fury (2nd) and seven-time Olympic champion Jason Kenny (3rd) to become sportsman of the year for the first time. Peaty, the first British swimmer to retain an Olympic title is the first swimmer to win the sportsman of the year award since David Wilkie in 1976.
The England men’s football team, who came so close to bringing it home at the European Championships finished ahead of Champions League winners, Chelsea men’s football team (2nd), and Olympic champion diving duo Tom Daley and Matty Lee (3rd).
The sportsman, woman and team of the year awards are voted for by the SJA membership.
SJA President Patrick Collins presented his award to Roy Hodgson, who ended his managerial career earlier this year after 1,213 matches in charge for club and country.
The Pat Besford Award for the outstanding performance of 2021 was awarded to Kenny for his runaway Olympic victory in the men’s keirin. The award is named after the former swimming correspondent of the Daily Telegraph, who was the SJA’s first woman chair, and goes to the person who, in the view of the SJA, produced the single outstanding performance of 2021.
Kenny was then joined on stage by wife Laura as the couple received the SJA Committee Award as the country’s most successful male and female Olympians.
The SJA Chairman’s Award was won by the Paralympics GB wheelchair rugby team, who bounced back from a pool defeat to USA to beat the Americans in a thrilling blood-and-thunder final, and collect a historic first Paralympic gold medal in the sport. Chair Ashley Broadley presented the award.
The National Lottery made its own Spirit of Sport Award to swimmer Ellie Simmonds, who this year ended a glittering career with eight Paralympic medals, including a total of five golds across three Games and eight world championship golds.
The SJA Bill McGowran Trophy for female and male para athletes of the year was awarded to Dame Sarah Storey who has won the award twice before, and Sir Lee Pearson, who won three medals in Tokyo taking his Paralympic gold medal tally to 14.
Recipient of the J L Manning Award for services to sport off the field were Mark England and Penny Briscoe, Chefs de Mission of Team GB and Paralympics GB respectively.
The SJA Sport for Social Change Award was won by the London Marathon. The London Marathon has grown to become the biggest annual one-day fundraising event with 36,000 runners this year and a further 23,000 taking part virtually. It has raised over £1 billion for charities. The SJA Sport for Social Change Award highlights the amazing work of individuals and organisations across the UK which use sport to create a positive impact on wider society.
The inaugural Sky | Kick It Out award for equality and Inclusion was awarded to Gareth Southgate, who was praised for his inclusive leadership and using his voice and position to promote equality and inclusion in football, in sport and in wider society.