9 December, 2013

Special Accolade for Jaguar Academy of Sport Rising Stars

The future of British Sport took centre stage at the Jaguar Academy of Sport Awards at The Royal Opera House in Covent Garden on Sunday 8 December. Celebrating another incredible year for British Sport there were also five Special Recognition Awards for five talented young athletes.

In the company of many legends of British sport past and present including Dame Kelly Holmes, Patron of the Jaguar Academy and Sir Steve Redgrave, five Rising Stars received the top accolade for their fantastic sporting achievements and interaction with the Mentoring and Education Programme, delivered by Kelly Holmes Education.

It highlighted the huge value placed on effective mentoring and education by the Academy to support emerging talent to achieve their dreams. The five 2013 Special Recognition Awards for the Jaguar Academy of Sport went to:

Asia Bailey (taekwondo)
Scott Jones (disability athletics)
Jess Leyden (rowing)
Tyesha Mattis (gymnastics)
Esperanza Merry (wheelchair tennis)

Chosen by an expert panel that included representatives from SportsAid, Jaguar, Spark44 and Kelly Holmes Education, the five winners were chosen from the group of fifty Rising Stars announced in May this year. The performances of the young athletes this year have been incredible including World Junior and World Senior titles, plus a World record and Gold at the Australia Youth Olympic Festival.


Their award was also as a result of the commitment, dedication and promise they have shown in their respective sports. Each winner will now receive a one year programme of one-to-one mentoring, organised by Kelly Holmes Education.

Esperanza Merry only took up wheelchair tennis a year ago and has made rapid progress. She is now a member of the GB Junior team, which won the Junior World Team Title this year. She was a Semi-finalist at her first NEC Tour event, beating players ranked inside the world’s top 100 and won her first ITF Doubles title in Belgium.

Scott Jones had an amazing year which included a surprise victory at the IPC World Championships, a year after he missed out on the London 2012 Paralympic Games. He produced a new World Record to win the F34 Shot Putt in Lyon, France to win his first major Championships title at the age of only 15. His media training with Kelly Holmes Education was put into practice just weeks after the Jaguar Academy Talent Day, with his TV and radio interviews broadcast around the world.


Out of the top five Special Recognition winners, rower Jess Leyden was named as the ‘Star of the Future’, testament to her positive engagement with the Mentoring and Education programme, perfect attitude and total commitment and dedication. This year she became Britain's first ever open weight Women's Singles Champion at the World Junior Championships.


Dame Kelly commented:

“What a brilliant year 2013 has been for the Academy and British Sport. It was an honour to be part of the expert panel to choose the five Special Recognition award winners, but it was a very tough decision.

“I always enjoy sharing my personal experiences through Kelly Holmes Education and meeting the Rising Stars during the year. I know how important advice, learning and education are to any individual, I never stopped learning and there is certainly no shortcut to success at the highest level.

“The one to one mentoring programme we put in place for each winner will add a special dimension to their extended support team and provide an empowering partnership hopefully for the long term.”

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