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SPORTS AWARDS: Proud Smith becomes a two-time champion
Bradley Smith said he will continue to fly the flag for Oxford all around the globe after being crowned the county’s top sportsman of 2013.
The MotoGP star, who claimed a top-ten finish in his first season in the elite class, admitted he was honoured to receive the accolade for a second time at this year’s Oxfordshire Sports Awards.
And it was a night to remember for motorsport, with Alice Powell named as sportswoman of the year after finishing runner-up in this season’s F3 Cup.
With the duo winning, all that was missing were champagne celebrations!
Smith, who also lifted the award in 2009, admitted he was shocked to become a two-time champion.
“I never thought it would happen again,” he said. “But it’s a very proud moment for me and for motorsport.
“It’s great to get this sort of recognition from my home county.
“I’m proud to call Oxford my home and myself and Nick Harris (Smith’s manager) fly the flag for Oxford all around the world – and that certainly won’t change.”
Powell was equally delighted – and surprised – to land the honour.
“It’s so nice to get this award, I am really pleased,” she said.
“I had a really good season, but it was so frustrating to not get the title in the final race when I had led for the whole season.”
She added: “It’s tough being a woman in a man’s world and it is such a money-motivated sport.
“I’d like to drive in the GP3 class next season, but that will cost between £600,000-£700,000 – so I will be coming round with a bucket later!”
The awards, run by the Oxfordshire Sports Partnership, saw a sell-out, capacity crowd of around 360 at the Kassam Stadium to pay tribute to the best of our county’s sporting talent.
Of the 30 individuals and clubs on the shortlists, 21 different sports featured.
The biggest cheer of the night came from Oxford City Stars Ice Hockey Club, who were crowned team of the year after claiming their league title and going on a 20-match winning run.
Oxford Hawks were named club of the year after eight of their 16 senior teams won their respective league titles.
“It has been an amazing year and we are very proud to win this award. It means a lot,” said chairman Adrian Higgins.
Ray Sweeney was named coach of the year for his efforts in coaching karate to disabled people – many of whom have gone on to win national medals.
“Since coming to Oxford, I have been determined to get more people into the sport and seeing people getting involved means so much to me.”
Paul Davis picked up the unsung hero award for his work with Bicester Blue Fins Swimming Club, with whom he saved from extinction when taking on the roles of chairman, treasurer, secretary, head of sponsorship and membership secretary when the club was at its lowest ebb.
It was a good night for Bicester, with cerebral palsy sufferer Thomas Langston winning the disability award for his achievements on the ‘Feel Inspired’ golf coaching programme.
Cricketer Miles Hammond won the junior sportsperson award, after this season being called into the England Under 19 team, as well as making his county debut for Gloucestershire.
The junior sports team award went to the Oxford Academy futsal side, who won the county, regional and national title.
Faringdon’s Katy Spiers took the junior volunteer award.
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