Seventeen-year-old heptathlete Morgan Lake from Bagshot in Surrey was last night presented with SportsAid’s coveted One-to-Watch Award by England football manager Roy Hodgson at the charity’s SportsBall in London.
The double junior world champion was chosen ahead of more than 1,300 other rising stars of British sport who have been supported by SportsAid this year across more than 60 different sports. With each of these athletes being nominated to SportsAid by their sport’s governing body on the strength of their talent and potential, they are the nation’s brightest prospects, which is why the One-to-Watch Award has gained a reputation for highlighting the very best of the next generation. Former recipients include sprinter Jodie Williams and diver Tom Daley.
Speaking at the SportsBall last night Morgan said, “I am absolutely honoured to be SportsAid's one to watch. I think SportsAid's an amazing help to so many athletes all over the country so it's really great to get this recognition. The award is the icing on the cake of an amazing year and it's really nice to have the backing and support. It was also nice to see all the people from different sports who you don't normally get a chance to meet."
Led by Olympian Sarah Winckless, a panel of judges from Sport England, UK Sport, the English Institute of Sport, BBC Sport and SportsAid chose Morgan ahead of two other One-to-Watch Award finalists, junior taekwondo world champion Abigail Stones from Liverpool and European champion sprinter Maria Lyle from Dunbar.
Sarah said, “Like all the nominees Morgan has achieved an incredible amount this year and when you look at all the fantastic young sportsmen and women she was up against it only underlines the significance of this award. Morgan has huge potential and it’s great to see this being recognised because it’s this that will help us produce the champions of the future.”
At the IAAF World Junior Championships in Oregon this summer, Morgan won gold medals in the high jump and heptathlon, setting the under-19 British record in the former and the under-18 British record in the latter. She said, “Getting two world titles was quite a shock. It was a really good opportunity and a great competition.”
Next year Morgan has her sights set on the world championships in Beijing and European junior championships in Sweden, which she says she will be training hard for this winter. Looking back on the support she has received from SportsAid over the last two years – which has come through the charity’s partnership with the Jaguar Academy of Sport, she added, “The money from SportsAid has helped a lot this year, and I have been able to put it towards increasing travel costs, medical support and equipment such as a shot put. The money has helped a lot and has meant that I can focus on just the sport without other worries."
Roy Hodgson said, “I was delighted to present the One-to-Watch Award on SportsAid’s behalf tonight and especially to have had the opportunity to meet such a fantastic athlete as Morgan. It’s great to see young people being recognised in this way and a real inspiration to others. Long may it continue.”
- Morgan Lake receiving SportsAid's One-to-Watch Award from Roy Hodgson at the charity's SportsBall in London on Thursday, 27 November 2014.
- SportsAid: Call Simon Worsfold at SportsAid on 020 7273 1978 or 07960 357116 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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- At the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games almost two-thirds of the British team were former recipients of SportsAid's support, winning 20 of Team GB's 29 gold medals and 27 of ParalympicsGB's 34 gold medals.
- At the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games more than 450 of the athletes competing were previously supported by SportsAid, with 241 of them winning medals.
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- Three finalists: Abigail Stones (taekwondo), Maria Lyle (disability athletics) and Morgan Lake (athletics). Read more here.
- Ten shortlisted athletes: Abigail Stones (taekwondo, age 15 from Liverpool, SportsAid Awards 2012 and 2014); Alison Patrick (paratriathlon, age 27 from Livingston, West Lothian, SportsAid Award 2014 from SSE); Chris Lawrie (rowing, 17 from Bourne End, Buckinghamshire, SportsAid Award 2013 from SportsAid Eastern and 2014 from Jaguar Academy of Sport); Helen Housby (netball, 19 from Cumbria, SportsAid Award 2014); Jack Stanley (rugby union, 17 from Helston, Cornwall, SportsAid Award 2014 from OCS); Maria Lyle (athletics, 14 from Dunbar, East Lothian, SportsAid Awards 2013 and 2014 from Bank of Scotland Local Heroes); Morgan Lake (athletics, 17 from Bagshot, Surrey, SportsAid Awards 2013 and 2014 from Jaguar Academy of Sport); Muhammed Ali (boxing, 18 from Keighley, West Yorkshire, SportsAid Awards 2012 and 2013 from Lloyds Bank Local Heroes and 2014 from Bradford b Active); Rowan Coultas (snowboarding, 17 from Northallerton, North Yorkshire, SportsAid Awards 2011 and 2014 from SportsAid Yorkshire & Humberside); Thomas Hamer (para-swimming, 16 from Rawtenstall, Lancashire, SportsAid Award 2014 from SSE). Read more here.
- § Judges: Sarah Winckless (Olympian, SportsAid alumna), John Wood (UK Sport), Matt Slater (BBC Sport), Melissa Bennett (Sport England), Joslyn Hoyte Smith (English Institute of Sport), Laura Eddie (National Awards Manager, SportsAid) and Ian Braid (National Awards Committee Chairman and Trustee, SportsAid).
- Criteria: Must be recommended to SportsAid by their sport’s national governing body. Excellence in results at the international level. Excellence in results at the domestic level. British/European/world rankings. Membership of national squads/teams. Age group status, standing and years left. Commitment, dedication, promise (comments received from their sport’s national governing body). Likelihood to improve in following years – performance and ranking.