Sports Awards: Special Recognition accolade honours those waving flag for Northern Ireland sport
One of the main aspects of the Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards is recognising local sports people who have made an impact in many ways across Northern Ireland in the calendar year.
That is no more evident than in one of our key prizes, the Special Recognition award, which is jointly sponsored by Kingsbridge Private Hospital and Volvo.
The Special Recognition award does not feature a nominations list as it is given out as an additional accolade by the judging panel to someone who has made a key contribution to Northern Ireland sport.
Winners will have showcased Northern Ireland sport in a positive light over the last 12 months, drawing attention to their achievements on either a local or a global scale.
Additionally, there can be more than one recipient should the judging panel determine that there are two or more people deserving of recognition.
The winner (or winners) will join a strong list of previous recipients who have all represented sport in Northern Ireland to an exemplary standard either at home or abroad.
Jonathan Rea, who is up for the Sports Person of the Year Award, was the winner last year alongside World Rally driver Kris Meeke, while Olympic boxer Paddy Barnes has taken home the award three times (2008, 2012 and 2014).
In both 2012 and 2014 he shared it with another boxer, Michael Conlan, while Carl Frampton walked away with the accolade in 2013.
Former Ulster Rugby player Bryn Cunningham, motorcyclist Michael Dunlop, golfer Olivia Mehaffey, Olympic rowers Alan Campbell and Peter and Richard Chambers, and Gaelic footballer Paul Hearty have also won the award.
Kingsbridge Private Hospital and Volvo, both renowned for excellence in their own fields, are fitting supporters of the awards.
Kingsbridge Private Hospital is one of the leading clinics in Northern Ireland, treating local sporting stars from all codes with state of the art facilities and staff on hand to assist athletes.
"We are delighted to be supporting the Special Recognition category at the prestigious Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards," said Mark Regan, CEO of Kingsbridge Private Hospital.
"We already work with many elite athletes so understand how important sport is in the local community and throughout Northern Ireland and the need to recognise the achievements of amateurs and professionals alike.
"Our National Sports Injury Clinic provides access to sports medicine consultants, specialist sports physiotherapists and orthopaedic consultants treating athletes from a variety of sports.
"Enhanced services include same-day MRI, cardiac screening, on-site physiotherapy and rapid access to a range of additional services such as cryotherapy and sports massage.
"We wish all the awards nominees good luck and look forward to what promises to be the biggest year yet, with over 600 guests celebrating all things great about sport in Northern Ireland."
Car manufacturers Volvo also sponsor the award, with their commitment to seeing sport grow shown in their sponsorship of the likes of golf's World Matchplay Championship and the World Youth Sailing Championships.
"We are honoured to once again be a sponsor of the Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards. We are delighted to be part of such a wonderful event which will celebrate the stunning achievements of Northern Ireland's sporting heroes", said Andy Duke, dealer principal at Greers of Antrim and Coleraine.
And Phil Houston, SMW Belfast sales manager, added: "We are delighted to be back on board as sponsor of such a great event to celebrate another big year of Northern Ireland sport.
"It is great to be associated with the Belfast Telegraph and if it is anything like last year, we're in for a great evening."