Great Britain ended its most successful ever year on the mat with an equally impressive haul off it.
World Champion Sarah Stevenson finished her rollercoaster year on a high, receiving a trio of awards; The Sunday Times Sportswoman of the Year 2011, The Sports Journalist Association’s Committee Award and an MBE in the Queen’s New Year’s honours list.
“It’s fantastic to be recognised for the hard work I have put into Taekwondo for the past 21 years.
“I know my parents would have been so proud.
“It’s also a boost for the sport in this country and I am proud to be an ambassador for Taekwondo. I hope this will continue to help raise the profile of this great sport.”
Indeed, the 28-year-old from Doncaster’s received the prestigious The Sunday Times Sportswoman of the Year trophy ahead of swimmers, Keri-Anne Payne and Rebecca Adlington plus Hayley Turner, the first woman to win two Grade One races.
Remarkable Dorothy Tyler, 91, who won the first of her two Olympic high jump silver medals at the 1936 ‘Hitler’ Olympics in Berlin, presented Sarah with her award at the paper’s Wapping headquarters.
She is the 24th recipient of the Sunday Times accolade with past champions including Dame Kelly Holmes, Dame Ellen MacArthur, Victoria Pendleton and Jessica Ennis.
World silver medallist Jade Jones was also nominated for the Sunday Times Young Sportswoman of the Year Award, eventually losing out to Lucy Garner Britain’s junior world road race champion, and also Jaguar’s Most Inspirational Sportswoman of the Year Award, won by jockey Hayley Turner.
Meanwhile, Martin Stamper was awarded the Olympic Athlete of the year for Taekwondo.
The Liverpudlian had a tremendous year winning five medals – three golds, one silver and one bronze – losing on only two occasions.
GB Taekwondo’s Performance Director Gary Hall said:
“I am really pleased for Martin, he’s had an exceptional 2011,”
“Winning the US and German Opens earlier in the year really set him up and to then win a medal at the Worlds was a great achievement.
“He hasn’t stopped there and to sustain that level of consistency through the year is very impressive.”
And it was not just the athletes as High Performance Coach Steve Jennings graduated from the Elite Coaching Apprenticeship Programme. ECAP offers a two-year programme offering an accelerated development opportunity for emerging high performance coaches who are already working within the High Performance System, enabling them to become the elite coaches of the future.