Friday, 13 November 2009


A blind swimmer who competed in this year's national championships, a pair ranked in the top 10 in the country for dance sport and a woman who helps to support 20 sports team were amongst the winners at the first Thanet Sports Awards.

Held at Margate's Winter Gardens last night (Wednesday 11 November), the awards were organised by the Thanet Sports Network, a group of public, private and voluntary sector organisations, who are working together to increase sporting opportunities in Thanet. Awards were handed out in 11 different categories and the guest speaker was Jack Green from Maidstone, who is number four in the world for 400 metres hurdles at under 20 level.

The winners were:

Club of the Year
Thanet Swim Club, which is currently Thanet's most successful swimming club, finishing in the top three in Kent this year and with over 200 members.
Coach of the Year
Neil Leach, head coach at the Isle of Thanet Boxing Club, who started the club two years ago and has had success this year at county and regional level.
Disabled Sports Person of the Year
: Thomas Rust, who is registered blind, competed in the national championships. He often competes in able bodied events and made the GB paralympic squad, but was unable to finance the costs. He hopes to qualify for London 2012.
Individual Sporting Achievement
Paul Ayers, who overcame tragic family losses at an early age, and now competes in a range of sports, including rugby, athletics and fencing.
Long Service Award
John Websper, who helped create the Thanet Indoor Cricket League in 1976 and secured the indoor cricket facility at the Marlowe Academy, then the Conyngham School.
Team of the Year
Ian Sharpe and Victoria Lawrence, who compete as a pair in Dance Sport, are ranked top 10 in England for both ballroom and Latin dancing. They regularly compete in national competitions and were second in the European Championships.
Unsung Hero
Maureen Fiander, who helped to form Hugin Vikings FC in 1995 and works behind the scenes to support all 20 teams at the club.
Young Sportsperson of the Year
Charlotte Davis, who swims for Thanet Swim Club, is Kent champion in two events and gained a silver medal for Kent in an international competition.
Young Team of the Year
Hugin Vikings FC U15 Girls, the only girls team in Thanet to be playing in the Kent Girls and Ladies league and were league and cup winners last season.
Sportswoman of the Year
Kara Gibbs, who won the pole vault at the Kent Indoor championships and then took bronze at the South East of England championships. She is ranked 17th for pole vault in the UK for her age group.
Sportsman of the Year
James Goodbun, who competes at national level in golf croquet. He finished fifth in an international U21 tournament in Cairo.

Martyn Cassell, Chair of the Thanet Sport Network, said: "These awards allow us to celebrate some of the great achievements that have been made in sport in Thanet over the last year. You just need to look at this year's winners to see how much variety we've got in the area in terms of sporting opportunities and also the high number of talented performers. Hopefully these awards will act as further encouragement for all people in Thanet, to get involved in sport whether it be playing, coaching or volunteering behind the scenes."

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