Unprecedented is the adjective most used to describe our lives in 2020.
Coronavirus has had such a massive impact on so many individuals and families that we can hardly complain about the way sport has been affected. And yet there has been something indefatigable about the way sport has continued to keep us entertained through this most difficult of periods.
In our own unprecedented move our annual sports awards will be the first since their launch in 1949 that we've staged as a virtual event.
The SJA British Sports Awards have been celebrating the nations sporting achievements since 1949 making these awards the oldest of their kind. This year in its 71st edition the awards will be honouring sportsman, woman and team of 2020, the SJA Bill McGowran Award for para athletes, the SJA’s greatest sportsman and sports woman of the year across the events 71 year history and a number of Sport for Social Change Awards, awards salute people or projects that have used the power of sport to create a positive impact for their local communities or wider society.
SJA SPORT FOR SOCIAL CHANGE AWARDS
The Sports Journalists’ Association are delighted to announce the four winners of our special Sport for Social Change 2020 Awards, in recognition of the work sportsmen, women and organisations have done to help people cope with the massive challenges created this year.
Marcus Rashford, MBE, Lou Macari, Ebony Rainford-Brent and the Dons Local Action Group (formed by AFC Wimbledon supporters) are all recipients of an award which is traditionally presented at the SJA British Sports Awards. It has been expanded in 2020 as a salute to the extraordinary contribution made by the quartet of winners.
Watch interviews with the winners as part of the SJA British Sports Awards.
Many thanks to our awards host Jim Rosenthal, interviewer Karthi Gnanasegaram, Sir Michael Parkinson, programme deviser David Walker, production manager Gareth Owen and his team at Sunset+Vine and organiser James Green at Start2Finish Event Management.
Footage credits: Getty Images, BBC Sport, London Marathon, The Lou Macari Foundation, MUTV, Premier League, Sky Sports & Sky Sports News
MARCUS RASHFORD MBE
Manchester United and England footballer Marcus Rashford has shown a maturity belying his 23 years to headline a campaign to ensure the Government took responsibility for feeding hungry children during school holidays. The public support he enjoyed forced the Government into two embarrassing policy U-turns.
DONS LOCAL ACTION GROUP
Many sports clubs have helped their local communities and fans in need. In a particularly crowded field, our panel of judges felt that the group – linked to AFC Wimbledon – deserved our award.
They were set up by volunteers in response to the COVID-19 crisis but have become a critical part of their local community to fight poverty and isolation.
COVID-19 has obviously been a massive issue but 2020 has also been the year of Black Lives Matter. We are honouring cricket broadcaster Ebony Rainford-Brent for her work highlighting the need to create equal opportunities for black sports players and administrators in the UK and beyond.
Former Stoke manager Lou Macari is 71 and no longer involved in football management. Instead, he devotes hours every day helping the homeless of Stoke through the Macari Foundation. Lou set up his original hostel for the homeless four years ago. He developed a site which included two dormitories for men and one for women. And then came coronavirus to leave that accommodation severely compromised.
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