THE BEST of the borough’s sporting talent – from Olympians to volunteers – have been honoured at the Rugby Sports Awards.
The award ceremony at the Benn Hall celebrated the best sporting achievements of 2021, while honouring the coaches and volunteers who help keep grassroots sport thriving in Rugby borough.
Rugby Canoe Club’s Kimberley Woods was presented with the Sportswoman of the Year Award, marking a remarkable year in which she made the final of the women’s K-1 slalom at the Tokyo Olympics before striking gold in the K-1 team event at the Canoe Slalom World Championships in Slovakia.
The Sportsman of the Year Award went to Graeme Mooney, who in 2021 took first place at the World Crossbow Shooting Association World Championship and won gold at the National Crossbow Championships.
Rugby Swimming Club’s Hannah Secher was named Coach of the Year after she guided the club’s artistic swimmers to gold at the Swim England Artistic Swimming Combo Cup.
Forced to hold training sessions via Zoom, the club’s 13 to 15-year-olds took gold in the cup’s division one and division two, with the 12-years-old and under group clinching division one bronze and the 15 to 18-year-olds bringing home bronze in division two.
Gymnast Luke Marsh received the Young Sportsperson of the Year Award after helping the British team take gold at the Wohnen Junior Trophy in Germany – where Luke also took individual bronze in the pommel horse – while winning the individual all-around silver at the under 17 four-way international between Britain, Germany, France and Switzerland.
Draycote Water Sailing Club was crowned Club of Year, while Rugby Town FC’s under 18s took the Young Team of the Year title after reaching the third round of the FA Youth Cup – the furthest a local club has ever reached in the prestigious competition.
The Unsung Hero Award went to Old Laurentians RFC stalwart Arwel Jones for his sterling work for the club behind the scenes, and the Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Draycote Water Sailing Club’s Harry Sayers.
Harry was a founder member of the sailing club in 1969 and has served as the club’s commodore and president during his half century of volunteering.
In 2021, Harry was presented with a Lifetime Commitment Award at the Royal Yachting Association’s (RYA) annual volunteer awards by HRH The Princess Royal, president of the RYA.
Tom Kittendorf, Rugby Borough Council chief officer for leisure and wellbeing, said: “The sports awards celebrate Rugby’s entire sporting community, from elite-level Olympic athletes to the volunteers whose passion and dedication keep grassroots clubs running, offering residents of all ages and abilities the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of taking part in sporting activities.
“This year’s awards ceremony was a welcome opportunity to come together following the challenges of the pandemic, and once again we had plenty to celebrate.”
Rugby Borough Council organises the annual Rugby Sports Awards with support from the GLL Sport Foundation, which offers funding to talented young athletes from across the country. GLL, a charitable social enterprise, operates the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Centre on behalf of the council.