Bedford & County’s European Masters Hurdles Champion Tennyson James took the top Award at the Bedford Borough Sports Awards held at the Corn Exchange on Monday night.
Bedford Borough Awards night is always an inspiring occasion with hundreds of outstanding sports men and women nominated in eleven different categories, with many of the nominees internationals and some even world champions in their respective sports.
Winning an award is not easy, but Tennyson deservedly triumphed from a field of fourteen nominees from ten different sports to take the Adult Sports Personality of the Year.
His citation reads:
“Bedford & County athlete Tennyson has achieved outstanding success on the track this year at both National and International level. Earlier in the season he set a new British age group record and Championships best performance in winning the 60m at the British Masters Indoor Athletics Championships. He went on to take an international title in the 100m hurdles at the European Masters Championships in Venice to become European Champion 2019.”
Two other members were also nominated for the Adult Personality Award:
Frankie Johnson, the UK number one U20 Pole Vaulter, who won indoor and outdoor titles in that age group as well as finishing 5th and 7th in the Senior Indoor and Outdoor National Championships respectively. He also represented Great Britain at the prestigious Under 20 International in Mannheim.
Alek Swiecicki brought home a multitude of medals from the European Masters Championships: a gold in the Steeplechase (setting a new British record by some 19 seconds); a silver in the 5000m and a brace of bronzes for individual and team in the cross country.
Five club members were among the twenty nine nominated for the Junior Sports Personality of the Year:
Alex Alston who was 2nd in the England Athletics U17 Steeplechase and also 2nd in the Youth Nations Cup representing England, ranking 5th in the UK.
Etienne Maughan, who was 4th in both hurdles and long jump at the England Athletics U15 Championships, 5th in the 100m at the English Schools Championships and ranked in the UK top ten in four different events.
Stephen Simmons was English Schools Octathlon Champion, ranking number one in the UK, 2nd in the schools international pentathlon, 2nd in the England Athletics U17 hurdles (ranking second) and also ranked 7th in the UK in the discus.
Gracie Wall was English Schools U15 High Jump Champion in her first year in the age group, and also finished 4th in the England Athletics Indoor Championships and 5th in the Outdoor Championships, ranking 4th in the UK.
Tia Wilson not only finished 1st in the Inter Counties Cross Country, 4th in the National Cross Country and 5th in the English Schools Cross County, but also claimed 3rd place in the English Schools U19 3000m and 2nd in the Youth Nations Cup 300m. In addition, Tia has achieved the qualifying time for the Olympic Trials in swimming at 1500m front crawl.
Wheelchair racer Varun Bandi was nominated in the Disability Sport Award Category. He was a founder member of the Club’s wheelchair racing section. His achievements this year include 3rd place in the London Mini Marathon. He trains at the track on Sunday mornings and plays wheelchair tennis at Riverside Tennis Club.
The club was also nominated for the Sports Club of the Year, mainly for the development of young coaches.
Guest of honour, Bedford Resident James Keothavong, answered questions about his life as one of the world’s top tennis umpires. Apart from being hit full on the head by a wild shot (and he even laughed about that at the time), he enjoyed being in the high chair and controlling even the most temperamental players citing humour and good communication with the players as vital to his success. He said that the greatest privilege of his career so far was being in the Chair for the epic 2017 Australian final between Federer and Nadal.
It’s a brilliant reflection on Bedford and County that so many of our athletes were nominated. Well done to all the nominees (and especially Tenny), and also to all of the Bedford and County coaches, clubmates and volunteers who have been key to their development.