Belfast Telegraph

Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards: Local Heroes will get their big moment in the spotlight at our glittering ceremony

Top award: Jonathan Rea was the Belfast Telegraph Sports Star of the Year 2017
Top award: Jonathan Rea was the Belfast Telegraph Sports Star of the Year 2017
Adam McKendry

By Adam McKendry

After another great year of sport in Northern Ireland, the Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards will not only honour those who have represented Northern Ireland on the highest stage, but also those who have put in the hard graft behind the scenes.

One of those awards is the Local Heroes Award, which is sponsored this year by Sport Northern Ireland.

The award is given to a club or individual at grassroots level who has done the most for their sport over the past 12 months.

To buy tickets for the awards ceremony, visit www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/sportsawards2018/tickets

It rewards those who do plenty of unseen work and are rarely given the credit they deserve, shining a light and giving national recognition to those whose time and effort is spent dedicated to their sport.

Last year's winner, Philip Duke, embodied that with his tireless work with Ulster and Irish hockey as a player, coach, umpire and team official across many years of dedication.

This year's winner will have to show similar characteristics to those of Duke, with their work at the grassroots level going above and beyond.

Sponsors Sport Northern Ireland is the leading public body for the development of sport in Northern Ireland and is committed to seeing all people in Northern Ireland enjoy, engage and excel in sport.

Sport Northern Ireland is proud of its outstanding sporting workforce, who are helping and inspiring people every day to engage, develop and reach sporting goals, whether that is enjoying the benefits of being active or competition success.

All too often our grassroots helpers can go unnoticed, and that's why, through the Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards, Sport NI wants to shine a spotlight on the impact these local heroes are having in sports clubs and organisations.

Coaches, officials and volunteers are at the heart of making sport happen at all stages of the sporting pathway. While not all Northern Ireland's sporting coaches and volunteers get the recognition and praise they richly deserve, those in the running for this prestigious award are unsung heroes, often going beyond the norm in increasing accessibility, enjoyment, engagement, development and sustained participation at grassroots level within their sport.

Sport Northern Ireland Chief Executive Antoinette McKeown commented: "At Sport Northern Ireland, we are passionate about supporting everyone to develop and reach their sporting goals.

"We know that coaches, officials and volunteers are at the heart of making sport happen but sometimes, it can be easy to forget the work done behind the scenes and take for granted the difference it makes. And that's why Sport NI is honoured to sponsor the Local Heroes award.

"This award is all about saying thank you to our local heroes - the coaches, clubs and volunteers - who day-in, day-out, through every season, dedicate their time to make great sport happen, creating inclusive opportunities for everyone in our community to get active, stay active and develop sporting skills."

To buy tickets for the awards ceremony, visit www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/sportsawards2018/tickets

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