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The Season of Award Ceremonies

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Ed Warner column as seen in Athletics Weekly Magazine

 

11 November 2007

 

Athletics is the most measurable of sports. Sophisticated technology can detect the finest of differences between athletes, effectively consigning dead heats to the dustbin. The winner demonstrably ran the fastest, threw the furthest, jumped the highest or longest.

 

While medals are the primary currency of recognition, they are rightly not the only reward in our sport. This is now the season of awards ceremonies, a chance not only for elite athletes to add to their trophy lists, but also for those who form the backbone of athletics to be given the recognition their efforts undoubtedly deserve, but which are unlikely ever to be minted in gold, silver or bronze.

 

The UK Athletics Awards take place on 1 December at the National Motorcycle Museum in Birmingham. Each of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales will have nominated candidates in a series of categories including coaches, officials and volunteers. Of course, there will be athletes vying for awards too, but it is these outstanding workers in athletics who will give the Awards dinner its special flavour.

 

Much is said and written about the alleged disconnect between UK Athletics – and indeed at times the Home Country Federations too – and the grassroots of athletics; about the divide between paid bureaucrats and unpaid volunteers in local clubs and communities.

 

In a sport that is essentially amateur, but which has the benefit of public funding for its elite squad, tensions between administrators and local participants are to some degree inevitable. But I’m determined that at UKA we do not hide behind the screen of inevitability. We must remember that we exist to serve the sport and, through the elected UK Members Council, are ultimately answerable to it.

 

Our annual Awards are an important demonstration of our commitment to support athletics’ grassroots, and an opportunity for participants from across the UK to celebrate each other’s achievements.

 

Just as important, however, are the dinners taking place across Britain as each of the English regions as well as Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales make their own local awards. While some of the winners of these awards will be nominated for the UK Awards, every one of them should be celebrated as proof of excellence and endeavour in British athletics on the ground.

 

Next year will be an important one in so many ways. An IAAF event comes to Britain with Edinburgh hosting the World Cross. The Beijing Olympics will provide the quadrennial flurry of interest in athletics and, this time, will receive even greater attention by starting the countdown to London.

 

Our Awards dinner on 1 December will, I hope, remind us all that high spots such as these are only possible because of the unstinting efforts of so many often unsung volunteers who simply are our sport.

 


 

To book tickets for the UK Athletics Awards Dinner go to booking tickets.