SportsAid’s One-to-Watch Award shortlist has now been reduced to a final three as rower Calvin Tarczy, boxer Caroline Dubois and track and field athlete Dominic Ogbechie remain in the running for this year's crown. The winner for 2018 will be revealed at the charity's annual SportsBall celebration, sponsored by Royal Bank of Canada, in London next Thursday (15 November).
Calvin, Caroline and Dominic have been selected from around 1,000 rising British stars supported by SportsAid. Double world junior champion Calvin, 18, and Youth Olympic gold medallist Caroline, 17, both made the top 10 in 2017 and their consistently exceptional performances have seen them break into the final three. Dominic, 16, has enjoyed an outstanding year winning European Under-18s gold and setting world-age records in the high jump.
This year’s One-to-Watch Award will see the final three receive extra special recognition thanks to an exciting new partnership with global sportswear brand Nike. Calvin, Caroline and Dominic will all be provided with one-year kit support – to the value of £5,000 for the winner, and £2,500 each for the two runners-up. The trio will also be invited to Nike HQ in London to meet fellow athletes and staff, and learn how to manage their kit support as they find out more about the brand and its history.
There will also be a cash boost to support Calvin, Caroline and Dominic with their training and competition costs. With the backing of the GB Olympians’ Association, the winner will receive £1,000 and the two runners-up will each be given £750. The One-to-Watch Award has gained such a strong reputation for identifying the best up-and-coming prospects in Britain, with athletes nominated by their sport’s governing body on the strength of their talent and potential, and their achievements throughout the year.
Tom Daley received the charity’s first One-to-Watch Award in 2006 when he was 12 years old. Since then, fellow winners have included para-athlete Hollie Arnold, hockey player Harry Martin, sprinter Jodie Williams, skeet shooter Amber Hill and heptathlete Morgan Lake. All six of these athletes competed across the Rio Olympic and Paralympic Games where SportsAid alumni claimed 150 medals. Junior world champion rower Holly Dunford, now 19, took home last year’s award.
The judging panel features Olympic bronze medallist Sarah Winckless MBE (chair), Dame Katherine Grainger, Britain’s most decorated female Olympian and chair of UK Sport, Natasha Baker MBE, a five-time Paralympic champion, Matt Slater, the Press Association’s Chief Sports Reporter, Joslyn Hoyte-Smith of the GB Olympians’ Association, Ian Braid, Managing Director of DOCIAsport, and SportsAid’s Laura Eddie.
Here's more of an in-depth look at the final three athletes up for the One-to-Watch Award 2018....
Calvin Tarczy (rowing)
18 from Chiswick, London
SportsAid awards in 2017 and 2018 (GLL Sports Foundation)
• Gold in the men’s coxless four at the FISA World Rowing Junior Championships 2018
• Gold in the men’s coxless four at the FISA World Rowing Junior Championships 2017
• Recorded 5km ergometer time of 15:57 minutes when winning Great Britain Junior Pairs trial
“To be nominated again is even more special knowing that I was selected by the sport’s governing body, and knowing that two years in a row they think I’m one to watch, that’s really nice. That just gives me a huge amount of confidence that this is really something to go for. It’s been so helpful having access to the SportsAid funding because rowing’s a really expensive sport.
“The stars aligned [this year] because for a lot of the events we did the conditions were perfect for breaking records. We got to the competition [World Rowing Junior Championships] and went through our heat quite easily. Again, we had really good conditions and our coach told us to go as hard as we can in the semi-final, and we managed to take 11 seconds off the world record.”
Caroline Dubois (boxing)
17 from Chelsea, London
SportsAid awards in 2017 and 2018 (Backing The Best)
• Gold in the women’s -60kg category at the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games
• Gold in the women’s -60kg category at the AIBA Youth World Championships 2018
• Gold in the women’s -60kg category at the EUBC European Youth Continental Championships 2018
“SportsAid have helped a lot. When you go to these big competitions like a World Championships or Youth Olympic Games, you attend a number of camps which are usually quite far away, so the travelling that goes into it is very expensive. It [to be shortlisted] lets you know that you’re in the right place and you’re on track, people are recognising you and seeing that you’re one to watch.
“I had the nomination last year as well, which is a really big deal for me - to do it two years in a row. All three big events came this year and my dad was telling me before I even competed that I was a world champion and Youth Olympic champion – that confidence going into these Championships was number one for me. I knew I had the potential, and the skill, it was just up to me to put the work in.”
Dominic Ogbechie (athletics)
16, from Belsize Park, London
SportsAid award in 2018 (GLL Sports Foundation)
TASS award in 2018/19
• Gold in the high jump at the European Athletics Under-18s Championships
• Set a new world age-15 record of 2.22 metres at the England Age Group Indoor Athletics Championships
• Crowned English national champion at Under-17s level in both the high jump and long jump
“It’s an honour [to be shortlisted]. This is one of the first external sports awards that I’ve been invited to, so it takes a special place. It would mean an awful lot to win it because this is the first time I’ve been outright recognised for my talents. They’ve [SportsAid] been a massive help and I’d have to say that without them a lot of the progress that I’ve had wouldn’t have been the case.
“Next year my main aim is the European Athletics Under-20s Championships. I go up an age category, so will gain experience of competing with seniors. I prefer each event for different reasons but don’t have an outright favourite. I might specialise at some point but until then I’m not thinking about it. The Olympics is the aim; 2020 might be a bit too close but definitely the one after.”
Here’s the seven athletes who made the top 10 alongside Calvin, Caroline and Dominic this year….
Aaliyah Powell, 16, from Huddersfield – taekwondo
Georgia Wilson, 23, from Abergele – para equestrian
Hannah Botterman, 19, from Luton – rugby union
Hannah Moore, 22, from Stalbridge – para triathlon
Harri Jenkins, 22, from Neath – para athletics
Kristal Awuah, 19, from Streatham – athletics
Lucy Turmel, 19, from Swilland – squash
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)
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)
• Matt Slater (Chief Sports Reporter, Press Association)
• Joslyn Hoyte-Smith (Chair, GB Olympians’ Association)
• Laura Eddie (National Awards Manager, SportsAid)
• Ian Braid (Managing Director, DOCIAsport)
Calvin Tarczy – Naomi Baker
Caroline Dubois – Buenos Aires 2018
Dominic Ogbechie – Mark Shearman