Beth Mead, top scorer and player of the tournament at the European Women’s Football Championship, World Champion 1500-metre runner Jake Wightman and the Euro 2022 winning England women’s football team are the big winners at the 2022 SJA British Sports Awards, sponsored by the National Lottery.
Mead was voted Sportswoman of the Year, pipping Commonwealth gold medal-winning athlete Eilish McColgan (2nd) and World Championship bronze medallist Laura Muir (3rd). McColgan‘s amazing 2022 was recognised with the SJA Committee Award.
Wightman, who won 1500-metre gold at the World Athletics Championships in Oregon, saw off cricketers Ben Stokes (2nd) and Jonny Bairstow (3rd) to become Sportsman of the Year for the first time.
The Team of the Year honours went to the England women’s football team, winners of the UEFA European Championship on home soil. The Lionesses finished ahead of the T20 World Cup-winning England Team (2nd), and the Olympic champion Team GB Women’s Curling Team (3rd).
The Sportsman, Sportswoman and Team of the Year awards are voted for by the SJA membership.
The SJA British Sports Awards were first staged in 1949 and are the oldest sports awards in Britain. Sponsored by The National Lottery, the event – staged at The Brewery in Central London – was attended by more than 300 guests from sport, politics and the media.
SJA President Patrick Collins gave his award to James Anderson, who is the first English bowler to surpass 600 test wickets.
The Pat Besford Award was awarded to the England T20 men’s cricket team. The award is named after the former swimming correspondent of the Daily Telegraph, who was the SJA’s first woman chair, and goes to the person or team who, in the view of the SJA, produced the outstanding performance of 2022.
The SJA Chairman’s Award was won by Barrie Wells, the philanthropist who has sponsored some of Great Britain’s finest athletes as well as running the Box4Kids charity through the Barrie Wells Trust. The charity has helped thousands of sick children and their families to enjoy trips to sports events that would have proved impossible without his support. Chair Ashley Broadley presented the award.
The National Lottery made its own Spirit of Sport Award to Baroness Sue Campbell, who spent a decade at UK Sport overseeing the phenomenal success of Team GB and ParalympicsGB’s performances at the Olympic and Paralympic Games before moving to the FA as Director of Women’s Football with similar results.
Recipient of the J L Manning Award for services to sport off the field was Kevin Sinfield. Kevin’s recent challenge of running seven ultra-marathons in seven days has raised over £2.5 million.
The SJA Sport for Social Change Award, in association with the Sport for Development Coalition, was won by Panathlon. For over 20 years, Panathlon has delivered multi-sport competitions, training courses and coaching days for severely disabled children and those with special educational needs. The SJA Sport for Social Change Award highlights the amazing work of individuals and organisations across the UK which use sport to create a positive impact on wider society.
The Sky | Kick It Out award for equality and Inclusion was awarded to Alice Dearing, who has used her platform as Team GB’s first black female swimmer to promote diversity and inclusion, showing the world that swimming is for all.
And finally there was double success for British gymnastics in the breakthrough award with Jake Jarman‘s medal winning exploits at the Commonwealth Games and European Championships recognised, alongside recently crowned world champion Jessica Gadirova.