The second annual Lycamobile British Ethnic Diversity Sports Awards (BEDSAs) was launched on Thursday October 8 by former Olympic and World 400-metre Champion, Christine Ohuruogu MBE. Unveiled during Black History Month, the BEDSA awards are designed to recognise and celebrate the contribution of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) sports stars.
In addition, October saw the launch of the official BEDSA website, and the opening of award categories to accept nominations from the public. The BEDSA launch event took place at the SportsDock, University of East London, which encourages young people to take part in sports legacy activities and is supported by BEDSA and Sporting Equals. All proceeds from the awards go to a BEDSA Awards legacy programme which supports these rising stars, as well as increasing participation in sports.
Christine Ohuruogu, said: ‘It’s great the BEDSAs are back. Events like this are vital to increasing diversity in sport and highlighting the talent out there. It is about making young people believe and push themselves to achieve.’
Following the public vote, three nominations will be shortlisted by an independent committee formed of former athletes and sports partners including Sport England, UK Sport and Youth Sport Trust. Last year’s inaugural awards saw the cricketer Moeen Ali, gymnast Becky Downie and footballer Chris Powell receive awards in celebration of their sporting achievements.
There will also be a special ‘Lifetime Achievement’ award presented at the BEDSAs which will recognise a top-class athlete involved in extraordinary social responsibility work for vulnerable and disadvantaged groups through sport.
Sponsored by Lycamobile and founded by Sporting Equals, the awards ceremony will be held at the JW Marriott Grosvenor House, Park Lane, London on Saturday February 6, 2016 and will bring together sporting celebrities, grassroots sport and sporting organisations.
Sporting Equals Chief Executive Arun Kang, said: ‘October is an opportune time to launch such prestigious awards; it is Black History Month, and we want to acknowledge the contributions made in sport by Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic people from Britain. BEDSAs are all about recognising the great achievements by BAME communities locally, nationally and internationally but also inspiring the next generation to take part in sport at their chosen level.’
Subaskaran Allirajah, the Lycamobile chairman, said: ‘The BEDSAs rightly celebrate the huge sporting achievements of British ethnic minorities in the UK, whilst encouraging more of the next generation to achieve the same and more. It’s a great celebration that we’re proud to be a part of for the second year, so much so that we’ve put our name to it—good luck to all nominees for the Lycamobile Lifetime Achievement Award!’
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