Game Changer Awards
The votes are being cast to find the most heroic, impressive and inspiring sports woman or team in Northern Ireland.
In just over a week’s time nominations will close on the Game Changer Awards, which recognise, honour and celebrate the very best of women and girls’ sport in Northern Ireland.
The Belfast Telegraph have joined forces with partners Electric Ireland to offer two awards — elite and grassroots — which will be announced at a gala event in early March.
The elite section is for those women and girls who compete at county, national or international level representing Northern Ireland, Team Ireland or Team GB and NI, while grassroots is all about making an impact at local level whether it is coaching, volunteering or being a top amateur in their field.
Using their profile to raise viability, awareness and participation in women’s sport is crucial in these awards.
Over the last 18 months, Northern Ireland has produced some of the finest sporting achievements on the global stage with the women’s international football team creating history by qualifying for their first major finals, Amy Hunter, the 16 year-old cricketer from Belfast, smashing the world record to become the youngest male or female to score a ODI century, swimmer Bethany Firth once again being the golden girl at the Paralympics and Leah McCourt dominating in MMA.
But there are also wonderful performances closer to home that the Game Changer Awards want to hear about — whether it is netball, hockey, Gaelic games, sailing, gymnastics or golf.
And you can play your part in making sure those women and girls who have excelled at their chosen sport or been an inspiration to others are championed.
To nominate an individual or team for either award and find further details, please log onto:
https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/gamechanger/ and make your suggestion accompanied by a brief reason why they should win the award. The closing date is Monday, February 8.
Then once all the votes are in, the judging will commence.
And we have formed a select panel with a vast amount of knowledge and experience in sport to pour over the nominations and come up with a shortlist of four in each category.
Caroline O’Hanlon has been described as the busiest woman in Irish sport with her incredible contributions to netball and Gaelic games, allied with the fact she works as a medical doctor.
She has been a force in Northern Ireland netball since 2002, representing her country in two Commonwealth Games, carrying the flag in 2018, and currently plays in the English Superleague with Manchester Thunder.
Caroline combines her hectic netball schedule with Gaelic football, winning numerous awards while playing for Armagh Ladies, including an All Star and Player of the Year while also turning out for club St Patrick’s Carrickcruppen.
Her level of drive and commitment is off the charts and Caroline is regularly referred to by team-mates as an inspiration.
Orla Chennaoui, from Draperstown, is one of Northern Ireland’s greatest and most popular broadcast journalists. Orla made her name at Sky Sports covering Olympic sport, but she is now recognised as the broadcast authority on cycling, her great passion.
She continues to cover major sporting events all over the world and is regularly found on our screens while working for Eurosport. Orla also writes a column for the Belfast Telegraph Weekend Magazine.
Caroline and Orla will be joined on the judging panel by Anne Smyth, a highly respected sponsorship specialist with Electric Ireland. Anne has played a major role in raising the profile of women’s sport in Northern Ireland, especially women’s football, and at the end of last year she was recognised as one of the top 50 women of influence in Irish sport.
The Belfast Telegraph’s Head of Sport, Paul Ferguson, completes the judging line-up. Paul is an awarding-winning journalist with over 22 years’ experience covering and being involved in top-level sport in Northern Ireland.
For more information on the Game Changer awards, log on to https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/gamechanger/