Belfast Telegraph

Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards: Young, gifted and from here...

By Steven Beacom

Northern Ireland is blessed with prodigious young sporting talent — and rarely has that been clearer than at last night's Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards.

Our past sporting glories are always worth enjoying, so too the remarkable feats around the globe in the present day. The future will be bright as well.

Sycerika McMahon, Ian Sloan, Sally Brown and Peter Chambers, all winners at the glitzy event sponsored by Linwoods and supported by Sport Northern Ireland, will make sure of that.

Swimming sensation Sycerika, who is only 16, collected the Young Player of the Year prize after a brilliant year in which she broke Ulster and Irish records galore and picked up medal after medal at the European Junior Championships, Commonwealth Youth Games and Irish Championships.

Hockey hero Ian Sloan, 18, bagged the Local Heroes prize for captaining Cookstown High to three cup finals, scoring twice for his Cookstown club in their Irish Senior Cup final success and being called into the Irish international squad.

Another teenager, athlete Sally Brown, was the Sports Person with a Disability winner for the second year running after collecting bronze medals in the 200m at the Paralympic World Games and Paralympic World Cup.

Outstanding young rower Peter Chambers claimed the sought after George Best Breakthrough Award having won gold at the under-23 World Championships and World Championships in the Lightweight pairs event. Moving into the Lightweight Men's four, alongside brother Richard, he was part of a team to finish first in the World Cup to complete an amazing 2011.

Keeping with the youthful theme, the excellent Lurgan College Girls Hockey team were delighted to be named Young Team of the Year after winning every trophy available to them in the past 12 months.

Motorcycling star Michael Dunlop seems to have been shining on the roads for a long time, but he is still only 23 and his superb efforts at the Ulster Grand Prix and Isle of Man TT in 2011 were rewarded with a Special Recognition award.

Michael is certainly continuing the Dunlop dynasty in fine style.

And the sporting kids are definitely alright in Northern Ireland.

We have much to be proud of in our wee country.

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph