SportsAid is delighted to announce the 10 athletes on the shortlist for this year’s One-to-Watch Award. The annual award, set to be presented at the charity’s SportsBall in London on Thursday 23 November, was launched in 2006 and looks to shine a spotlight on the achievements of Britain’s brightest young sporting prospects.
The One-to-Watch Award has an outstanding ‘Hall of Fame’ with double Olympic bronze medallist Tom Daley winning the inaugural title when he was just 12-years-old. Paralympic champion Hollie Arnold MBE claimed the accolade in 2008 with para-athlete Sally Brown, hockey player Harry Martin, heptathlete Morgan Lake and sprinter Jodie Williams among the previous victors.
Last year, triathlete Alex Yee received the One-to-Watch Award from Sir Mo Farah, a beneficiary of SportsAid support in 1999, after a sensational 12 months which saw him take gold in the ITU World Duathlon Junior Championships and bronze at the Quarteira ETU Triathlon Junior European Cup. Alex, who is also a track and cross country runner, was over the moon to win the award.
"It feels amazing - I'm speechless,” said Alex at the time. “To be named the one to watch and then to be presented it [the award] by Mo Farah is the greatest honour and I'm over the moon. To have the backing of such a great charity shows that it's all going in the right direction. I'm ready for that next step and to push myself and hopefully in four years get to that Olympic Games.”
The One-to-Watch Award shortlist for 2017 includes four junior world champions with many European titles and national accolades won by the nominees….
Beth Shriever, 18, from Braintree - cycling
Calvin Tarczy, 17, from Fortis Green - rowing
Caroline Dubois, 16, from Chelsea - boxing
Charlie Smith, 18, from Leighton Buzzard - canoeing
Craig Boardman, 17 from Thruxton – para athletics
Finette Agyapong, 20, from Newham - athletics
Holly Dunford, 18, from Tadworth - rowing
Kate Waugh, 18, from Gateshead - triathlon
Lauren Hemp, 17, from North Walsham - football
Lily May Humphreys, 15, from Sudbury - golf
The 10 athletes have been selected from over 1,000 rising British stars supported by SportsAid across more than 60 different sports during 2017. Each year, athletes are nominated by their sport’s governing body on the strength of their talent and potential, demonstrating why the One-to-Watch Award has gained such a strong reputation for identifying the best up-and-coming prospects.
The judging panel is chaired by Olympic bronze medallist Sarah Winckless MBE. Dame Katherine Grainger, Britain’s most decorated female Olympian, and Natasha Baker MBE, a five-time Paralympic champion, are new additions with Matt Slater, the Press Association’s Chief Sports Reporter, Joslyn Hoyte-Smith of the GB Olympians’ Association, and SportsAid’s Laura Eddie all returning this year.
Skeet shooter Amber Hill was presented with the One-to-Watch Award by Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge, the Patron of SportsAid, in 2013. Many SportsAid alumni have returned to hand over the award including Sir Matthew Pinsent, Sir Steve Redgrave, Victoria Pendleton CBE, Steve Backley OBE, Sir Ben Ainslie, Christine Ohuruogu MBE and Max Whitlock MBE.
Here’s more information on the athletes shortlisted for this year’s One-to-Watch Award....
Beth Shriever (cycling)
18 from Braintree, Essex
SportsAid awards in 2013, 2014 (Prudential) and 2017
• Gold in the junior women’s class at the UCI BMX World Championships 2017
• Five junior titles across the UEC BMX European Cup Series 2017
• Sixth place in the Papendel round of the UCI BMX SX World Cup Series 2017 (senior level)
“I was amazed when I found out I had been nominated. It’s a special award. I look at the list of people who have won it previously and it’s impressive. SportsAid has been so important for me. BMX is an expensive sport and my mum and dad have had to go into their own pockets a lot. The support of SportsAid has helped with travelling costs, new equipment….lots of different things.
“The biggest highlight this year was the World Championships and coming away with a gold in the junior women’s class. It was so surreal, I had been dreaming of that moment for so long. So for it to happen like that, after all the work I put in, was just amazing. I move up to the seniors next year and it’s a massive jump. It’s going to be a real eye opener competing with the best in the business.”
Calvin Tarczy (rowing)
17 from Fortis Green, London
SportsAid award in 2017 (GLL Sports Foundation)
• Gold in the men’s coxless four at the World Rowing Junior Championships 2017
• Gold in the junior men’s pair at the Munich International DRV Junior Regatta 2017
• Gold in the junior men’s eight at the Munich International DRV Junior Regatta 2017
“The award [being shortlisted for One-to-Watch] gives me that confidence boost. It gives me encouragement that I’m not out of my league by pushing for a higher position in rowing. There are so many people supported by SportsAid so I didn’t think I’d be chosen - it made it feel special that I had been nominated. It shows that what I’ve been doing has been noticed.
“The season itself was amazing. It got better as I moved on through and it was great to crown the end with the World Championships – that was really special. I’d been part of the GB trialling process for the whole year and at the start of July it was the final selection regatta, which is when they put crews together for the World Championships. I was selected for the coxless four, which was the top boat.”
Caroline Dubois (boxing)
16 from Chelsea, London
SportsAid award in 2017 (Backing The Best programme)
• Gold in the 60kg category at the EUBC European Women’s Youth and Junior Championships 2017
• Gold in the 60kg category at the GB Youth and Junior Three Nations Championships 2017
• Gold in the 57kg category at the EUBC European Women’s Youth and Junior Championships 2016
“I feel privileged that people recognised my talent and skill, showing it was worthy of a nomination. It’s nice to be recognised for all the hard work I put in. I’ve achieved a lot this year, and not just this year, but last year as well. It’s all coming together because I won the Europeans again. I’m a two-time European champion now which hadn’t been done by a female boxer for a long time.
“I’ve got lots of support from my dad who’s been training me and putting in work outside my boxing club. The SportsAid funding has helped massively because this year has been so busy. I’ve had camps all the way up in Warrington and Sheffield so it’s helped me get to those areas. Sometimes my dad’s not around to take me because I’ve got brothers who box as well so he can’t take all of us.”
Charlie Smith (canoeing)
18 from Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire
SportsAid awards in 2015, 2016 and 2017 (Nottingham Building Society)
• Silver in the K1 Men’s Juniors at the ICF Canoe Marathon World Championships 2017
• Silver in the K1 Men’s Juniors at the ECA Canoe Marathon European Championships 2017
• Seventh place in the K1 Men’s Juniors 1000m at the ICF Canoe Sprint Junior and Under-23s World Championships 2017
“To be nominated was a massive surprise - I had no idea that it was coming. I’ve been supported by SportsAid for the last three years now and they have been a massive help. Canoeing is expensive and their financial help has been invaluable. Their support motivates me to achieve more success without a doubt. It makes training that little bit easier and keeps you going to reach the next level.
“This year has been my best yet. I’ve won World and European silver medals, and I’ve had some other really great results, so hopefully that can continue. One day, I want to compete at the Olympics. I train in Nottingham where British Canoeing’s headquarters are, with the aim of getting to Tokyo 2020. If I don’t get to Tokyo, then it will be Paris four years later – that will be the one for me.”
Craig Boardman (para athletics)
17 from Thruxton, Hampshire
SportsAid award in 2017 (Realbuzz)
• Gold in the T34 100m at the World Junior Para Athletics Championships 2017
• Gold in the T34 200m at the World Junior Para Athletics Championships 2017
• Gold in the T34 400m at the World Junior Para Athletics Championships 2017
“I felt so happy when I was shortlisted. It takes a lot to wake up in the morning and go and train, even when it’s raining, so it’s good to know that people are watching. I’m glad it’s not gone unnoticed. It’s probably been one of the best years of my life, I got a European record [over 100m] and in one training session with Richard Chiassaro, I went faster than the top speed I’ve ever done.
“I went from being nothing in the world to being number three and a record holder in my first two years of doing it. We take it one thing at a time. I’ve got the Europeans coming up and, because I have the record, I’m hoping to prove myself there. It’s winter training now, so we can’t really train outside that much. I bought a new pair of rollers with my SportsAid funding so I can train inside when it’s raining.”
Finette Agyapong (athletics)
20 from Newham, London
SportsAid awards in 2015 (Get Living London) and 2017 (Caesars Entertainment)
• Gold in the 200m at the European Athletics Under-23s Championships 2017
• Fifth place in the 200m at the Monaco meeting of the IAAF Diamond League 2017 (senior level)
• Selected to represent Team England in the 4x400m at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games 2018
“I didn’t expect it [to be shortlisted]. I knew about the award and people who’ve been shortlisted in the past but I never thought I’d be one of those athletes. The best thing is that a lot of people don’t see how much work you put in as an athlete - they just see the finished product. There’s a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes. Right now I’ve got my dissertation and coursework on top of everything.
“This year has been above and beyond what I expected - there’s been ups and downs but it’s been really exciting. It’s so important to have the support of SportsAid especially because at the start of my career it was quite difficult to gather funds to go to training camps. I’m expecting the Commonwealths to be amazing - I’ll hopefully gain good experience competing at such a high level.”
Holly Dunford (rowing)
18 from Tadworth, Surrey
SportsAid award in 2017 (GLL Sports Foundation)
• Gold in the women’s double at the World Rowing Junior Championships 2017
• Set new British record for junior women on the ergometer (Under-18s level)
• Three first place finishes in the single sculls at the GB Rowing Team Junior trials
“It’s a confidence boost [being shortlisted] knowing other people are aware of the hard work I’ve put in. SportsAid has definitely helped me pay for competitions. We went to Munich earlier on in the season and it helped cover the cost of that so it meant I could go out there and race. It was the first international experience I had and it helped me understand how tough the worlds were going to be.
“It was pretty surreal [winning gold at the worlds]. You always think that it could happen but you never really think it will. It still hasn’t really sunk in yet but it’s something I’m going to remember for a long time. It wasn’t until they were giving us the medal, we thought, ‘yeah, this is actually happening’. It showed that the whole season paid off. All the hard work I put in is coming together now.”
Kate Waugh (triathlon)
18 from Gateshead, Tyne and Wear
SportsAid awards in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 (myLotto24)
• Gold in the junior women’s race at the ETU Triathlon European Championships 2017
• Silver in the junior women’s race at the ITU World Triathlon Championships 2017
• Gold in the junior women’s race at the British Duathlon Championships 2017
“I am so happy to be selected for the top 10 for the award because it’s out of so many talented athletes. It’s such an honour. I’ve had my best season to date this year and it’s really great to be noticed for that. 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 had my most successful year since being with them [SportsAid]. 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.”
Lauren Hemp (football)
17 from North Walsham, Norfolk
SportsAid awards in 2016 (ICAP) and 2017
• First-team striker for Bristol City Women FC in the Women’s Super League 1
• Captained England Under-17s at the UEFA European Championships 2017
• Winner of the Vauxhall England Young Player of the Year award 2017
“I was over the moon when I was told [about being shortlisted]. I was in Kazakhstan with the England Under-19s squad so I was very pleased to hear the great news. SportsAid have helped me pay for training, boots and accommodation because I’m currently living with a host family. It’s made me into a better player too, because if it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be able to do some of the things I am now.
“I won England’s Young Player of the Year award for 2017 and I also captained the England Under-17s in the European Championships. It was such an honour to captain my country. Just to be playing on the pitch was amazing but to captain the squad gave me a sense of ownership and responsibility. I’d love to play for the England seniors one day, but we’ll see what the future holds.”
Lily May Humphreys (golf)
15 from Sudbury, Suffolk
SportsAid award in 2017 (Suffolk SportsAid Foundation)
• Won the EGA European Young Masters Championships 2017
• Won the English Women’s Amateur Championships 2017 (senior level)
• Won the Girls British Open Amateur Championships (Under-18s) and the Sir Henry Cooper Junior Masters (Under-18s)
“I am really happy to be on the shortlist. Finding out that my hard work had paid off and that I’d been recognised was just really nice. A lot of time goes into it, you have to practice whatever the weather, even if it’s raining or cold, trying to make sure you’re improving all the time. SportsAid has helped me pay for quite a lot of things such as travel expenses, hotels and things like that.
“It’s allowed me to play in competitions around the country and doing that has allowed me to be picked for England to play around Europe. Playing for England is always a real honour, you feel proud that you can go out there and play, see different places and different people around the world. Having the chance to represent all these great teams like Great Britain and Europe is a great motivation.”
2006 – Tom Daley (diving)
2007 – Andrew Brown (sailing)
2008 – Hollie Arnold (disability athletics)
2009 – Jodie Williams (athletics)
2010 – Harry Martin (hockey)
2011 – Sally Brown (disability athletics)
2012 – Courtney Tulloch (gymnastics)
2013 – Amber Hill (shooting)
2014 – Morgan Lake (athletics)
2015 – Emma Wilson (sailing)
2016 – Alex Yee (triathlon)
• Must be recommended by their sport’s national governing body.
• Must be one of the 1,000+ British athletes supported by SportsAid this year.
• Excellence in results at the international level.
• Excellence in results at the domestic level.
• British/European/world rankings.
• Membership of national squads/teams.
• Age group status, standing and years left.
• Commitment, dedication, promise (comments received from their sport’s National Governing Body).
• Likelihood to improve in following years – performance and ranking.
Here’s the judging panel for the One-to-Watch Award....
• Chaired by Sarah Winckless MBE (Chef De Mission, Commonwealth Games England)
• Dame Katherine Grainger (Chair, UK Sport)
• Natasha Baker MBE (current Paralympic equestrian athlete)
• Matt Slater (Chief Sports Reporter, Press Association)
• Joslyn Hoyte-Smith (Chair, GB Olympians’ Association)
• Laura Eddie (National Awards Manager, SportsAid)
Beth Shriever - SWPix
Calvin Tarczy - Naomi Baker
Caroline Dubois - England Boxing
Charlie Smith - Balint Vekassy/Canoe Photography
Craig Boardman - Job King
Finette Agyapong - British Athletics/Athletics Images
Holly Dunford - Naomi Baker
Kate Waugh - David Pearce/British Triathlon
Lauren Hemp - The FA
Lily May Humphreys - Leaderboard Photography