Future stars celebrated at inaugural TASS athlete awards

GB judoka Rhys Thompson was one of five student-athletes from across England revealed as a 2017 TASS Stars Awards winner following a morning at the world athletics championships on Friday 11 August.

Goalball player Sarah Leiter, triple jumper Naomi Ogbeta, triathlete Calum Johnson and boxer Georgia O’Connor were also named as prize-winners at the presentation, in recognition of their successes in the past year.

Thompson won the award for ‘Most Enterprising’ which is awarded to a TASS athlete who has used creativity and imagination to advance or achieve in their sport or studies in order to realise their ambitions.

“Rhys has demonstrated his ambition and passion by making the very difficult decision to distance learn his degree from Bath, whilst also working on placement as a staff member and training full time with the Judo programme. His creatively and tenacity is particularly admirable having chosen to take on such an extreme challenge.”

The inaugural awards aimed to shine a spotlight on the achievements of talented dual career athletes and reward their incredible efforts, both on and off the field.

The finalists, who have all been supported by TASS for at least a year, were nominated by their peers, parents, NGB Leads or Delivery Site Leads and were selected for the shortlist following a rigorous scoring process.

Nominations were made across five categories designed to celebrate the attributes of a dual career athlete: Most Committed, Most Inspirational, Most Enterprising, Most Determined and Star of the Year.

Current triple jump world record holder, Jonathan Edwards – who is also a TASS ambassador – joined the awards celebrations to meet the shortlisted athletes and share his experiences of studying alongside competing at a world class level.

A panel of experts – including Olympic silver medallist Shelley Rudman, Paralympic gold medallist Danielle Brown and BBC Sport’s Joel Goldman – were responsible determining the five prize winners.

Three-time World Champion in archery, Danielle Brown said, “It was a real privilege to be able to judge the first TASS Stars Awards.

“The standard of the nominations was exceptionally high and the athletes’ outstanding commitment to both sport and study was evident.

“And as a former recipient of TASS support myself while I was studying for my Law degree, I’m well aware of the many challenges student-athletes face.

“For me, it was inspiring to read many of the remarkable stories submitted and it made judging even more difficult! Congratulations to all of the finalists.”