by Michael Bailey
Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Belton swimming sensation Jessica-Jane Applegate was the toast of the county on Wednesday night after being crowned Norfolk’s sports star of 2012.
The 16-year-old Paralympic gold medallist walked away from the Active Norfolk awards at The Forum not only as young sports personality of the year, but also with the coveted winner of winners gong for her tremendous efforts at London 2012.
The man behind her success, UEA City of Norwich head coach Alex Pinniger enjoyed his share of credit, being named community coach of the year in front of a host of the county’s Olympic and Paralympic stars.
But the night belonged to Applegate and that golden night at the Aquatics Centre during a special summer of sport for Norfolk and beyond.
“With all the amazing people here tonight I wasn’t expecting to get two awards,” admitted Applegate, who was also delighted for Pinniger.
“He’s a great coach. He always listens to me. Some coaches don’t want to know, but he always looks after me. “This is something really nice to do and enjoy – I don’t have to wear my track suit.”
With a record 450 nominations for the sixth annual Norfolk Sport Awards, North Lopham’s Olympic judoka Colin Oates and Wisbech Paralympic legend Jody Cundy were on presenting duties – occasionally to their London 2012 team-mates.
Taverham’s Paralympic archer Mel Clarke was named inspirational sports personality for her long and arduous journey to her London silver – a journey she hopes will take her to 2016 gold in Rio.
And Iain Dyer – British Cycling sprint coach to the likes of Chris Hoy, Jason Kenny and Laura Trott – added another award to the Taverham total with the sports personality of the year award to complete the London 2012 influence.
Most impressive of all was the chance for grassroots sporting success and elite stars to share a stage and the limelight. Attleborough Boxing Club earned the title community club of the year, while Terrington St Clement can proudly call itself Norfolk’s top sporting village of 2012.
Wells’ Alderman Peel High School picked up the prize for sporting school of the year and Barnham Broom Golf Club secretary Robin Brooks was named unsung hero, two days before his 78th birthday and impending retirement.
Norwich’s London 2012 goalball star Amy Ottaway and sport coaching guru Tim Newenham told their tales of a stunning summer, while messages from Team and Paralympics GB’s Louis Smith, Zoe Smith, David Weir and Greg Rutherford rounded off a true celebration of Norfolk’s 2012 sporting successes.
• AND THE WINNERS ARE...
Sports personality of the year: Iain Dyer (British Cycling coach)
Also nominated: Colin Oates (Team GB judo) Amy Conroy (Paralympic wheelchair basketball)
Young sports personality of the year: Jessica-Jane Applegate (Paralympic swimmer)
Also nominated: Alfie Hewitt (wheelchair tennis) Amy Ottaway (Paralympic goalball)
Community club of the year: Attleborough Boxing Club
Also nominated: Tiger Football Club Norwich Lowriders Wheelchair Basketball Club
Community coach of the year: Alex Pinniger (swimming)
Also nominated: Katie Brooks (tennis) Philip Pearson (golf)
BBC unsung hero: Robin Brooks
Also nominated: Wally Oliver, Paul Brandon
Inspirational sports personality of the year: Mel Clarke (archery)
Also nominated: Amy Ottaway, Jody Cundy
Sporting village of the year: Terrington St Clement
Also nominated: Hickling, Downham Market
Sporting school of the year: Alderman Peel High (Wells)
Also nominated: Clare School (Norwich) Clackclose Primary (Downham Market)
Sporting business of the year: Admin Re
Also nominated: 4Sports Wymondham Martial Arts and Wellbeing Centre
Active Norfolk winner of winners: Jessica-Jane Applegate