Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards 2012: Nominate now
It's been a stunning year for Northern Ireland sport — possibly the best ever — and we have watched in admiration as our heroes have delivered time and time again.
Take the Olympics for example when our wee country returned home from London 2012 with a record haul of medals thanks to the outstanding efforts of Alan Campbell, Richard and Peter Chambers, Paddy Barnes and Michael Conlan.
YOU CAN NOMINATE IN AS MANY CATEGORIES AS YOU LIKE
Sports Star of the Year - click here to nominate
Player of the Year - click here to nominate
Team of the Year - click here to nominate
Young Player of the Year - click here to nominate
Young Team of the Year - click here to nominate
Manager / Coach of the Year - click here to nominate
Sports Person of the Year with a Disability - click here to nominate
WJ Paddy Patterson Services to Sport Award - click here to nominate
George Best Breakthrough Award - click here to nominate
Local Heroes - click here to nominate
Hall of Fame - click here to nominate
Special Recognition Award
This award recognises outstanding achievement and is an additional award agreed by the judges.
And what about the Paralympics in which Bethany Firth, Michael McKillop and Jason Smyth all struck gold.
Then there was Rory McIlroy who won another major and along with fellow Ulsterman Graeme McDowell helped Europe retain the Ryder Cup in scintillating style.
Our boxers like Brian Magee and Carl Frampton continue to excel while motorcyclists Eugene Laverty and Jonathan Rea have been mixing it with the best around the globe.
The legend that is AP McCoy won a remarkable 17th jump jockey title — and the Cheltenham Gold Cup on Synchronised — and teenager Sycerika McMahon swam superbly to a European silver medal, the youngest Irish medal winner in a major event.
Northern Ireland's sporting teams also had an astonishing year of success.
All these achievements and many, many more will be celebrated when the Belfast Telegraph once again honours our leading sports stars of the year at the Ramada Plaza Hotel just outside Belfast on January 14.
And we want YOU, the readers, to help us.
Today we launch the Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards for 2012, a selection process that will culminate with that gala banquet early next year when the winners will be revealed.
Regarded as the most prestigious sports awards ceremony in the country, sponsored by Linwoods and supported by Sport Northern Ireland, The Belfast Telegraph is proud to celebrate our sporting success.
On these pages you will see how you can recommend your choice of winner from various categories.
Last year our top award, the Sports Star of the Year, was won by golfing hero Darren Clarke for his sensational Open triumph.
So, who will walk away with the big prize this time? Well, Darren's friend Rory McIlroy will surely be in the frame.
Holywood star McIlroy produced marvellous golf this year to claim his second major title, the US PGA at Kiawah Island.
He's also been victorious in other tour events in America and is closing in on topping the end of season money lists in the States and Europe.
Talking about Europe, McIlroy won three points during that epic Ryder Cup win, including one in the singles after arriving just minutes before he was due to tee off.
Northern Ireland were heavily involved with Portrush's Graeme McDowell earning a point and Clarke acting as a vice captain.
If the Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club was exciting, the Olympics brought glory, thrills and emotion.
Who could forget Alan Campbell's tears after he bravely rowed to a bronze in the single sculls? It was a monumental effort from the Coleraine man.
Coleraine had much to cheer in London because the town’s Chambers brothers, Richard and Peter, performed brilliantly to earn themselves silver medals as part of Team GB's lightweight four. They were just inches away from gold.
It wasn't just on Eton Dorney Lake that Northern Ireland delivered — the magnificent Paddy Barnes and Michael Conlan performed supremely in the ring.
Barnes created history by becoming the first Irish boxer to win two medals at the Olympics, taking bronze in the light flyweight division, while it was the same colour for the impressive young flyweight Conlan, who clearly has a major future in the game.
Three of our Paralympic heroes helped make it a golden end to the summer.
The exceptional Jason Smyth proved to be the Usain Bolt of the Paralympics, romping to titles in the T13 class 100m and 200m, breaking world records in both events.
His good pal Michael McKillop also put on an awesome show, triumphing in the 800m and 1500m in the T37 class, again smashing world records in the process.
And young swimmer Bethany Firth also celebrated a memorable success with her brilliant victory in the 100m backstroke.
The big evening has been a special event down the years and, with the incredible drama we've enjoyed in sport this year, that trend is sure to continue.
Last year's winners
Sports Star of the Year: Darren Clarke
Hall of Fame: Mike Gibson
Player of the Year: Rory Best
Young Player of the Year: Sycerika McMahon
Team of the Year: Linfield FC
Young Team of the Year: Lurgan College girls' hockey team
Manager/Coach of the Year: Brendan Rodgers
Sports Person with a Disability: Sally Brown
WJ ‘Paddy’ Patterson Award: Danny Murphy
George Best Breakthrough Award: Peter Chambers
Special Recognition Award: Michael Dunlop
Local Heroes Award: Ian Sloan
The Purpose of the Awards
The purpose of the awards sponsored by Linwoods and supported by Sport Northern Ireland , is to identify sporting achievement and recognise those individuals, teams and organisations whose contribution to Ulster Sport is outstanding. Nominations for the awards may be made by organisations, governing bodies of sport, district councils, local sport councils and individuals.
Nominations close on Saturday 1st December at 5pm and can either be posted by clicking on one of the links above or by hard copy which should be no more than 200 words. Hard copy nominations should be posted to Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards, C/O JPR, Sylvan House, 232-240 Belmont Road, Belfast BT4 2AW or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Everyone who nominates has the opportunity to claim 5 x 20p off vouchers of Linwoods' Super Healthy Milk drink, a new low fat and fresh milk product enriched with probiotic and vitamins, plus some free Linwoods Healthy Super Food Seed samples.