Crawley-based Paralympic cyclist and gold-medallist, Katie-George Dunlevy, has won both the University of Brighton Disabled Sports Personality of the Year award and the Freedom Leisure Sports Personality of the Year award at the Sussex Sports Awards whilst 93-year old Les Kempster has been named the BBC Sussex Unsung Hero of the Year.
Now in its 15th year and held at The Grand Hotel on Friday 17th November, the 2017 Sussex Sports Awards welcomed special guest and Invictus Games champion Mike Goody, along with regular host BBC Sussex presenter Danny Pike. Both were on hand to offer their congratulations to all winners on what has been another highly successful year for the county both at elite and grassroots levels.
After securing gold and silver medals at the Rio Paralympic Games in 2016 on the tandem bike, Katie, who is registered as blind, wanted to add the World Title to her list of honours. So, from the moment she and her pilot returned from Rio, training began once more. She stuck to a gruelling training schedule which often included three hours on the training bike followed by hours at the gym, even over Christmas, through injury and illness.
The World Championships took place in South Africa in September and Katie and her pilot competed in two races – the 31km individual time trial and the 85km road race. The pair won both races securing two more gold medals and the rainbow jersey awarded to the new world champions.
Since the Rio Games, Katie has been sharing her experiences, challenges and her motivations with hundreds of children across Crawley and the surrounding areas. She shows them her medals explaining the hard work, nutrition and dedication that she has needed to achieve what she’s done.
Les Kempster has been rewarded for over 50-years of committed, dedicated hard work in Sussex football providing thousands of young players with the chance to experience the beautiful game. He is the current President of the Sussex County FA and Chairman of The Mid Sussex Youth and Minor Football Leagues in Sussex which are voluntary positions. He began volunteering in grassroots football in 1964 and was a member of the Sussex County Youth FA until it merged with the Sussex County FA in the 1990s.
Aged 93, Les continues to attend all the committee meetings, taking an active role in directing the League and its activities, adding wisdom and experience to new football initiatives.
Sadie Mason MBE, Active Sussex Chief Executive said: “Katie’s hunger, drive, passion and determination is inspirational to us all. We all watched in awe as she competed in Rio last year and then to follow it up with even more success at the World Championships this year speaks volumes about her talent and character. It also says a lot about her that she gives up so much time to visit children to help motivate and inspire them, showing them no matter what they are up against it can be overcome. Congratulations Katie – these two awards are totally deserved. As for Les, what can you say?! His commitment to grassroots football is flawless and extremely commendable. He is directly responsible for making sport possible for hundreds, if not thousands, of children across Sussex.”