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Suffolk Sports Awards 2017: Meet the nominees for Young Sports Personality, Unsung Hero and Coach of the Year

Esther Little is up for the Young Sports Personality of the Year Award. Picture: PAVEL KRICKA

Esther Little is up for the Young Sports Personality of the Year Award. Picture: PAVEL KRICKA

Pavel.Kricka@btinternet.com

The annual Suffolk Sports Awards will be held at Kesgrave Hall next Friday night. In the first of a two-part preview, Mark Heath takes a look at the nominees

Emily Ison, left, is one of the country's top squash coaches. Picture: NIGEL BROWN Emily Ison, left, is one of the country's top squash coaches. Picture: NIGEL BROWN

There are six awards up for grabs - Club of the Year, Coach of the Year, School of the Year, Unsung Hero, Young Sports Personality of the Year and Suffolk Sports Personality of the Year.

Here, we look at the nominees for three of those awards – and next week we’ll preview the rest.

The Archant Young Sports Personality of the Year Award

Esther Little, basketball

Esther has represented her school, county and eastern region at all age groups.

Over the last twelve months Esther has led the Ipswich Basketball Club under 16 team to the national play-off finals and has been selected and named vice captain for the Great Britain under 16 team, leading them to the European Championships.

She is considered by many to be one of the best young basketball players in the country.

Morgan Torrance Thomas is shortlisted for the Young Sports Personality of the Year title at the Suffolk Sports Awards 2017. Picture: CONTRIBUTED Morgan Torrance Thomas is shortlisted for the Young Sports Personality of the Year title at the Suffolk Sports Awards 2017. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

Jordan Catchpole, para swimming

Jordan is autistic and has learning difficulties but this has not swayed his commitment to swimming and he has classified as a S14 swimmer.

This year he has broken World, European and British Records, has been selected to swim for Great Britain and qualified for the Para Swimming World Championships in Mexico. He won the Para Swimming World Series Men’s Junior title and has most recently won four medals in his four swims at the British Summer Championships in Sheffield.

Morgan Torrance Thomas, powerlifting

During the 2017 season Morgan, 15, has excelled at regional, national and world level. In her first competitive year she’s won the National T1 category, has become T1 Class World Champion at deadlift, and has been selected to compete at the European Championships in Ukraine.

She set new World, European and British Records at the National Championships, winning her category, and was selected for Team GB, where she was the youngest-ever flag bearer for the team.

Jordan Catchpole is in the running for Young Sports Personality of the Year at the Suffolk Sports Awards 2017. Picture: KAREN CHAPPELL Jordan Catchpole is in the running for Young Sports Personality of the Year at the Suffolk Sports Awards 2017. Picture: KAREN CHAPPELL

The BBC Radio Suffolk Unsung Hero Award

Ann Williamson, cycling

Ann has been a driving force in Women on Wheels (WoW), encouraging more women and girls to get involved in cycling. The WoW rides have now expanded to seven rides across the county.

Ann is on the advisory committee for WoW, organising rides and raising money for various local charities with one local charity, St Nicholas Hospice, having received over £30,000 to date through the WoW Bury St Edmunds and Sudbury rides.

Jim Carnegie, hockey

Jim has been a member of the Sudbury Hockey Club for over 40 years and has been chairman or president for 28 of them.

He has helped to secure funding for a synthetic hockey pitch, secured sponsorship from local businesses, developed a junior coaching programme of 12 members, helped to grow the adult club to over one 100 members and has supported coach, umpire and volunteer development.

Michael Hurlock, badminton

Michael runs Glevering Badminton Club, which he started to encourage youngsters to play badminton in Wickham Market. In 1966 he hired the local primary school to run the sessions but realising the ceiling was too low, converted a pre-war disused indoor swimming pool at his home.

For 50 years he has coached badminton to anyone who wants to play – his passion and enthusiasm never ceases.

The Topcoach Academy Coach of the Year Award

Emily Ison, squash

A household name across Ipswich primary schools, Emily is renowned for after-school and lunchtime clubs, mini squash roadshows and the Saxon’s Cup primary school tournament, inspiring future generations to play the sport.

She is head coach and driver of junior squash across the whole of Suffolk and is one of the youngest international coaches in the world.

Ellen Hutchings, gymnastics

Ellen coaches disability gymnastics across all ages and abilities at the Waveney Gymnastics Club.

She gives up her free time to attend competitions across the UK and helps individuals, regardless of their age, level or ability, to get the chance to experience a competition.

She does all of this whilst attending college, working and running the club training sessions.

Heidi Whycoll, netball

Heidi organises, supports and mentors eight county coaches. She is also head coach for the county girls team and has had three girls progress to the Regional Academy.

Heidi’s hard work and commitment to coaching has meant that all the girls in the performance system are offered the highest standard of coaching and matchplay.

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