Gateshead triathlete Kate Waugh has capped off a stellar year by being shortlisted for SportsAid’s prestigious One-to-Watch Award. The 18-year-old won silver in the junior women’s race at the World Championships in September, having been crowned junior European champion at the beginning of the summer.
Kate’s achievements on the world stage could be partly due to the opening of the Leeds Triathlon Centre in April, as she moved to the Yorkshire city to train with British Triathlon ahead of the World Championships. Now the former Royal Grammar School, Newcastle pupil could potentially join a list of high-flying winners – double Olympic medallist Tom Daley won the inaugural SportsAid One-to-Watch Award in 2006 and five fellow recipients competed at the Rio Games.
“I was so happy to be selected for the top 10 for the award because it’s out of so many talented athletes so it’s such an honour,” said Kate. "Some amazing previous athletes have been nominated for the award, so it’s so cool to be up alongside them in a way.
“I’ve had my best season to date this year and it was really great to be noticed for that and to be potentially awarded for it makes all the hard work worth it. I’ll be in my last year of juniors next season so my main goal will be to retain my title at the European Championships and I’d love to get on the top step at worlds – I’ve got big expectations for myself now, it’s just about putting in the work to get there.
“I found it easy to hide away this year because people don’t really know your name when you’re in the younger categories but after podiuming it adds pressure. I like that though, it will be rewarding to perform under that pressure.”
Kate is one of 10 nominees selected from over 1,000 rising British stars supported by SportsAid across more than 60 different sports, with the winner presented at the charity’s annual SportsBall on November 23. Dame Katherine Grainger, Britain’s most decorated female Olympian, and five-time Paralympic champion Natasha Baker are among the panel of judges for the award.
The nomination is just one part of an exciting 12 months for the Tyne and Wear teenager, as she is about to embark on a somewhat unique gap year – travelling to New Zealand and Australia to train. And Kate, who has received SportsAid support through myLotto24 since 2014, knows just how privileged she is.
“I’ve been with SportsAid for four years now and I’ve had my most successful year since being with them,” she added. “They’ve helped me fund transport to trips, overnight stays before races and all the little things that help make life easier. “I have so much to thank them for and it’s nice to get results with that because it feels like I’m giving back to SportsAid. I know I wouldn’t be in the position I’m in now without all their support over the years.”
The winner of SportsAid’s prestigious One-to-Watch Award will be revealed at the charity’s annual SportsBall in London on Thursday 23 November. All the funds raised from the SportsBall help to support the next generation of British athletes. Please visit www.sportsball.org.uk for ticket information.