SportsAid is delighted to reveal the 10 athletes on the shortlist for this year’s One-to-Watch Award. The winner will be announced at the charity’s Celebrate the Next event, sponsored by Royal Bank of Canada, in London on Tuesday 19 November. The annual award was launched in 2006 and looks to shine a spotlight on the achievements of Britain’s brightest young sporting prospects.
The success of the One-to-Watch Award’s illustrious ‘Hall of Fame’ speaks for itself as previous victors, including Tom Daley, Hollie Arnold MBE and Courtney Tulloch, have already amassed 43 senior medals from Olympic and Paralympic Games, World and European Championships, as well as Commonwealth Games, firmly establishing themselves as household names in British sport.
Last year, boxer Caroline Dubois received the One-to-Watch Award from Greg Rutherford MBE, who was a beneficiary of support from the charity in 2003 as a 17-year-old, after a sensational 12 months. Caroline had won women’s -60kg gold at the Buenos Aires Youth Olympic Games, the AIBA Youth World Championships and the EUBC European Youth Continental Championships.
"It’s amazing to be named the winner of SportsAid’s One-to-Watch Award - it just shows that all the hard work and effort I’ve been putting in is finally paying off,” said Caroline upon receiving the award at London’s Living Room in City Hall. "It’s amazing and exciting to get the recognition and appreciation. It’s incredible to see myself alongside the likes of Tom Daley and other great athletes."
The One-to-Watch Award shortlist for 2019 includes Youth Olympians and junior world champions - with many European and national accolades won by the nominees. Each of the athletes has been invited to attend Celebrate the Next as SportsAid supporters find out more about their success....
Aaliyah Powell, 17, from Huddersfield – Taekwondo (shortlisted for a second consecutive year)
AbdAllah Eissa, 13, from Warwick – Squash
Amy Hunt, 17, from Newark – Athletics
Antonia Bunyan, 19, from York – Goalball
Charlie Aldridge, 18, from Crieffs – Cycling
Daniel Atkins, 18, from Pangbourne – Canoeing
Ellie Challis, 15, from Little Clacton – Para Swimming
Enriko Itauma, 14, from Chatham – Boxing
Karim Chan, 19, from Coalville – Para Athletics
Katie Shanahan, 15, from Bishopbriggs – Swimming
The 10 athletes have been selected from around 1,000 rising British stars, supported by SportsAid, across more than 60 different sports during 2019. 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 expert judging panel includes Olympic bronze medallist Sarah Winckless MBE (chair), Dame Katherine Grainger, Britain’s most decorated female Olympian, Natasha Baker MBE, a five-time Paralympic champion, Nick Hope, BBC Sport’s Olympic and Paralympic Reporter, Joslyn Hoyte-Smith of the GB Olympians’ Association, and Ian Braid, Managing Director of DOCIAsport, this year.
Skeet shooter Amber Hill was presented with the One-to-Watch Award by HRH The Duchess of Cambridge, the Patron of SportsAid, back in 2013. Many SportsAid alumni have returned to hand over the award such as Sir Matthew Pinsent, Sir Steve Redgrave, Sir Mo Farah, Victoria Pendleton CBE, Steve Backley OBE, Sir Ben Ainslie, Christine Ohuruogu MBE and Ellie Simmonds OBE.
Here’s more information on the athletes shortlisted for this year’s One-to-Watch Award....
17, from Huddersfield, Yorkshire
SportsAid awards in 2017 (Nelsons), 2018 and 2019 (Backing The Best)
• Bronze in the women’s -53kg category at the World Taekwondo Championships 2019 (senior)
• Gold in the women’s -52kg category at the Luxembourg Open 2019 (junior)
• Gold in the women’s -46kg category at the World Taekwondo Junior Championships 2018
“My highest point this season was definitely the World Championships - my first senior competition. It was pretty nerve-wracking but exciting. I wanted to perform my best and, because it was at home, my family were watching. At first I was quite upset because I hadn’t done as well as I wanted to but afterwards everyone reassured me. Once I got the medal, I felt a lot happier about it and prouder.
“It was tough because I did my GCSEs around the World Championships. I did a few exams the week of the competition. Then the day after I got my medal I had an exam the next morning. My dream is to be Olympic champion and have a medal at every major competition. I’ve moved to the Academy now and it’s very different to before. I’m training five times a week and the intensity is a lot higher.”
13, from Warwick, West Midlands
SportsAid award in 2019 (Backing The Best)
• Winner of the British Junior Open Boys’ Squash Championships 2019 (Under-13s)
• Gold at the Five Nations Team Squash Championships 2019 (Under-15s)
• Gold at the European Team Squash Championships 2019 (Under-15s)
“I got into the sport because of my dad. He used to play when he was younger and when I was five I started going on court with him. He’s now my main coach and he trains me every day. We have the father and son relationship so it’s good to discuss things with him. There are quite a lot of positives with it; he knows me best. It’s still competitive when we play but now I beat him most of the time!
“Long-term I would like to be world number one and win the World Championships. When I was nine or 10, I realised I was quite good and had a chance of becoming a champion. But between Under-13s and Under-15s the physicality of the game jumps up another level. The older I get, the more demanding the game will get. When I play older players, I need to be able to keep up with them.”
17, from Newark, Nottinghamshire
SportsAid awards in 2018 (Nottingham Building Society) and 2019 (Mo Farah Foundation)
• Gold in the women’s 200m at the European Athletics Under-20s Championships 2019
• Gold in the women’s 4x100m at the European Athletics Under-20s Championships 2019
• Set women’s 200m world record at Under-18s level with a time of 22.42 seconds at the Bauhaus Gala 2019
“It’s a really well-known honour [One-to-Watch Award] and to have my name alongside the other nominees - who are all amazing athletes - makes me so proud of everything I’ve achieved. My biggest competition in 2020 is likely to be the Junior World Championships where I’d love to add to my European gold, but it’s also an Olympic year and while it’s not firmly on my mind I’d never rule it out.
“It’d be amazing to be a professional athlete. But nothing’s guaranteed and my A-Level exams are among my biggest priorities next year. I study chemistry, English literature and music. I’m hoping to go on to study English at university next year. It can be tough to manage the workload at times, but I just try and remember how the good times felt. It helps to have other things to think about too.”
19, from York, North Yorkshire
SportsAid awards in 2016 (OCS) and 2019 (Backing The Best)
TASS award in 2019
• Bronze at the IBSA Goalball World Youth Championships 2019 (Under-19s)
• Finished sixth at the IBSA Goalball International Paralympic Qualifier (senior)
• Second top goalscorer at the IBSA Goalball World Youth Championships 2019 (Under-19s)
“I honestly can’t even put it into words how enthusiastic and happy I am about this; I think it’s a privilege to be nominated. I’m speechless. I didn’t think I’d be able to play goalball ever again at the start of the year [due to a serious wrist injury] and then I was playing at the European Championships. I am really happy with how I’ve gone through this year and managed to get through it.
“My ultimate ambition with goalball is to get to the Paralympics. We were so close this time - just one goal away from going - but it’s still my dream. I want to be world class one day. I want to be at the top of my game and I want people to know who I am because of what I’ve done and how hard I’ve worked. I also want to have my own massage business and be able to expand that one day.”
18, from Crieff, Perthshire
SportsAid awards in 2018 (OCS) and 2019 (Thompson Trust)
• Gold in the men’s cross-country at the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships 2019 (junior)
• Gold in the men’s HSBC UK National Cross Country Series - Rounds 1, 2 and 3 (junior)
• First Brit to win UCI Mountain Bike Junior Series 2019 Rounds on foreign soil (Albstadt, Nove Mesto)
“The [world title] win was pretty eye-opening to be honest because it was the first time I had thought to myself ‘wow I can actually do this’. I am so happy that I could do it for all my coaches and the sport itself and the response back at home in Scotland has been overwhelming. I am not expecting to achieve much in my first year [Under-23s level] but it will just be a case of seeing how fast I can get.
“I still have it in my head that I would like to go to university at some point to study mechanical engineering but I don’t know if it will be possible - I am taking the next year to gauge it. It would be good to have a back-up in case it all goes pear-shaped and mechanical engineering fits nicely in with my sport because the bike is a machine and that has always interested me.”
18, from Pangbourne, Berkshire
SportsAid award in 2019 (Thompson Trust)
• Gold in the men’s K1M 200m at the ICF World Junior Canoe Sprint Championships 2019
• Gold in the men’s K1M 200m at the ECA European Junior Canoe Sprint Championships 2019
• Gold in the men’s K1M 200m and K2M 200m at the National Junior Championships 2019
"The SportsAid award enabled me to buy paddles and a boat - the equipment I needed for racing in the coming season. It’s been a massive support - at the moment I don’t have any other funding from my sport and sponsorship is quite hard to come by in kayaking. It allowed me to train more comfortably not really worrying about money. For me, kayaking is the sport I care about and love.
"I think it’s a massive thing to have contact with older athletes who have done a lot so I’d love to stay in the sport after my career. I’d also like to experiment with different sports as well. I’d love to explore that deeper and see how I can balance trying new things as well as developing my stock trading. You have a lot of freedom with stock trading and how much time you can spend on it.”
15, from Little Clacton, Essex
SportsAid awards in 2017, 2018 (Girdlers’ Charitable Trust) and 2019 (Backing The Best)
• Bronze in the women’s S3 50m backstroke at the IPC World Para Swimming Championships 2019 (senior)
• Set one world and two European records at the British Para Swimming International 2019 (senior)
• Finished fifth, eighth and 10th in multiple classifications at the IPC World Para Swimming Championships 2019 (senior)
“SportsAid has supported me for the last three years now and it’s lovely to be recognised for all of my achievements. Their funding has been really important as it’s allowed me to make more choices. It’s been a really quick rise for me over the last eight months. The bigger the event, the bigger the swim, and I just take it all in and try to enjoy what I’m doing and never put too much pressure on myself.
“In London when I won my [world] medal there was a school trip to come and support me and that was very special. I don’t know what my targets are if I get to the [Tokyo] Paralympics just yet – I would love to win a medal but just to go there and get that experience is the main thing and I’d be absolutely thrilled if I got that chance. I just take everything in my stride and don’t get nervous or overwhelmed.”
14, from Chatham, Kent
SportsAid award in 2019 (Backing The Best)
• Gold in the men’s +80kg category at the EUBC Junior European Boxing Championships 2019
• Gold in the men’s +80kg category at the Schweriner Boxturnier 2019 via stoppage (junior)
• Gold in the men’s +80kg category at the EUBC Schoolboys European Boxing Championships 2018
"I’ve been boxing for the past four or five years in total. One year I’ve won the national title and one year I’ve won the European title but this year I won both. For my age that’s the best I can do because I’m not old enough for the [Youth] World Championships or Youth Olympics yet. I want to go [to them both] in the next couple of years but then I want to turn pro and become world champion.
"I would say my brother [Karol] is a big inspiration. I don’t want to be second but neither does he so we push each other to the limits. I know Caroline Dubois who won it [One-to-Watch Award] last year and she told me more about SportsAid when we went to Germany last week. It’s a proud moment to be nominated because I’ve been working hard and all that training has finally paid off.”
19, from Coalville, Leicestershire
SportsAid awards in 2017 (Realbuzz), 2018 and 2019 (Nelsons)
TASS award in 2019
• Gold in the men’s T20 long jump at the World Para Athletics Junior Championships 2019
• Gold in the men’s T20/F38 long jump at the England Athletics Under-17s Championships 2019
• Gold in the men’s F20 long jump at the World Para Athletics Junior Championships 2017
“The nomination means so much to me - knowing that all the hard work I’ve put in has been worthwhile and I can build from here to progress to the next level. I came through an 18-month period without any progress. It was my lowest start of the year but my jump coach worked with me on all the basic techniques in February - it was like learning everything from the beginning again.
“Retaining my [world] title with a new PB made me feel proud and it renewed my confidence. My ultimate ambition is to represent Great Britain in the Paralympics in 2024 and beyond. I want to become one of the best long jump para athletes in the world. I also work at a special education school for children with disabilities. I would like to enrol onto a school sports apprenticeship in the future.”
15, from Bishopsbrigg, Glasgow
SportsAid award in 2019 (SportsAid Scotland)
• Gold in the women’s 400m individual medley, 200m individual medley and 200m backstroke at the European Youth Olympic Festival 2019
• Silver in the women’s 4x100m medley relay, 4x100m freestyle relay and 4x100m mixed medley relay at the European Youth Olympic Festival 2019
• Bronze in the women's 400m individual medley at the European Junior Championships 2019
“It was such an amazing opportunity to compete at the European Youth Olympic Festival. I didn’t even expect to medal, let alone break records, because it was such a high-level meet. I was also lucky to race at Mare Nostrum in Barcelona. I came up against Olympians, Commonwealth and European champions and I was so pleased to be almost as fast as swimmers I have always looked up to.
“SportsAid funding has been so helpful. I would not be where I am today without it. Swimming can be expensive and that extra money really helps to get to where I am now competing nationally and internationally. Most people aren’t as lucky as I am to have swimming lessons at such a young age and I’d love to give back to the community and inspire others by showing them my achievements.”
Here’s the list of the previous One-to-Watch Award winners since the charity launched the accolade in 2006....
2006 – Tom Daley (diving)
2007 – Andrew Brown (sailing)
2008 – Hollie Arnold (para athletics)
2009 – Jodie Williams (athletics)
2010 – Harry Martin (hockey)
2011 – Sally Brown (para athletics)
2012 – Courtney Tulloch (gymnastics)
2013 – Amber Hill (shooting)
2014 – Morgan Lake (athletics)
2015 – Emma Wilson (sailing)
2016 – Alex Yee (triathlon)
2017 – Holly Dunford (rowing)
2018 – Caroline Dubois (boxing)
Here’s the criteria for the One-to-Watch Award....
• 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 NGB).
• 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, Bahamas 2017 and Gold Coast 2018)
• Dame Katherine Grainger (Chair, UK Sport)
• Natasha Baker MBE (current Paralympic equestrian athlete)
• Nick Hope (Olympic and Paralympic Reporter, BBC Sport)
• Joslyn Hoyte-Smith (Chair, GB Olympians’ Association)
• Adam Murphy (National Awards Manager, SportsAid)
• Alice Radford (Backing The Best Awards Manager, SportsAid)
• Ian Braid (Managing Director, DOCIAsport)
Aaliyah Powell – GB Taekwondo
AbdAllah Eissa – Steve Cubbins
Amy Hunt – Mark Shearman
Antonia Bunyan – Goalball UK
Charlie Aldridge – SWPix
Daniel Atkins – AEPhotos
Ellie Challis – British Swimming
Enriko Itauma – Andy Chubb (England Boxing)
Karim Chan – Luc Percival
Katie Shanahan – Ian MacNicol (Scottish Swimming)