British Weight Lifting has announced the winners of its 2013 Awards, with honours going to a range of people including top athletes and dedicated volunteers.
Leeds-based Jack Oliver, 23, has been named Weightlifting Athlete of the Year, following a string of consistent performances and personal bests, culminating in good performances at both the World Senior Championships and European Under-23 Championships, where he broke British Under-23 records for both the clean and jerk and total.
A World Record breaking performance at the Asian Open Championships in Malaysia was the highlight for another Leeds-based athlete Ali Jawad, who is named as our IPC Powerlifting Athlete of the Year.
Like Oliver, Jawad has shown remarkable progress, and is also a strong tip for success at next year’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
Yorkshire’s Rebekah Tiler is our Young Weightlifting Athlete of the Year. She is the current European Youth Champion following great performances in Lithuania earlier this year, and was one of ten nominees in the BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year.
The Young IPC Powerlifting Athlete of the Year is Panagotis Mamuneas, who was identified as a great prospect at the British Paralympic Association SportsFest in Sheffield early in 2013.
He won the British Bench Press Championship in the 54kg class, and has made significant progress which has resulted in him qualifying for the World Championships in April.
Male Coach of the Year is Eddie Halstead, who has helped bring out the best in Rebekah Tiler at his Mytholmroyd base, while Female Coach of the Year is Michaela Breeze who has coached several young up and coming athletes including Ryan Baugh.
Team Manchester are named as Development Club of the Year. Under the guidance of Terry Surridge, they have made real progress in a number of areas and offer coaching to children as young as 11 right through to masters.
In 2013 they successfully maintain Club Mark status for a third consecutive year, and in 2014 they will be using BWL funding for coach education to develop weightlifting opportunities in local schools.
Technical Official of the Year is Chris Baker. A well-known and much respected figure, Chris has been one of our leading officials for several years and continues to volunteer his services throughout the country at all major national championships, as well as many regional competitions as well. Rarely does a week go by when Chris is not officiating in some capacity.
The 2013 Team Award goes to London club Stars for the Future, run by Kazem Panjavi. They boast 35 British age group champions, and have helped set up five weightlifting hubs in different boroughs of London.
Three of their athletes have been picked for the BWL National Development Programme, and another six are part of the London and South East Regional Development Squad.
After another fantastic year Peter Larsen is named as Volunteer of the Year. A stalwart of the South West region, Peter continues to put his name at the top of the list when BWL is searching for much-needed support. Although much of it is unglamorous, Peter never complains and is always there to help ensure the smooth running of competitions both nationally and locally.
Bradford-based Luke Jones has been named as Young Volunteer of the Year, having notched up the most hours of work at BWL Championships. Coached by Eddie Halstead at Mytholmroyd, Jones was closely followed by several other great young volunteers from clubs across the country.
The Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Sport goes to London’s Mike Irani.
Wherever you go in the world, Mike has a phenomenal reputation throughout the sport. He is totally committed to the sport and works tirelessly behind the scenes representing his profession and BWL to the highest standards and his knowledge and expertise is without equal in weightlifting.
Mike’s contribution to various committees and Boards has been immense and he currently represents BWL on the International Weightlifting Federation’s executive board, whilst he has been on the IWF and EWF Medical Boards for over 20 years.
Ashley Metcalfe, British Weight Lifting’s Chief Executive, said: “These awards are about showcasing those people that have really made a difference to our sport in the last 12 months. We rely massively on volunteers and supporters to ensure our sport can go from strength to strength. They are often the unsung heroes of the sport and behind any successful performance are numerous people who have given their time and effort to help the lifter on their way.
“Many of these people often remain in the background. They are passionate and committed individuals whose voluntary support has not only helped drive our lifters but also encouraged many other people to become involved and to develop the sport.
“As an organisation we are always immensely proud and grateful of our voluntary support. It is absolutely essential and massively appreciated.”