Okonta scoops the top prize at Sports Awards

Jordon Okonta receives his award from Gareth Chilcott
Jordon Okonta receives his award from Gareth Chilcott

ATHLETE Jordon Okonta scooped the top prize at this year’s Littlehampton Sports Awards earlier this month.

The town’s annual ceremony was once again well attended and took place at the Millennium Chamber.

Former Bath and England rugby union player Gareth Chilcott was the guest speaker for this year’s event.

Littlehampton athlete Okonta has had a remarkable year and took home the sportsperson of the year award.

Okonta is currently number one at both long and high jump in the United Kingdom.

His greatest achievement as an athlete came earlier this year. Okonta travelled to Los Angeles to take part in the Special Olympic Games.

The Littlehampton talent returned with a gold and bronze medal.

Okonta came out on top in the high jump after reaching a distance of 1.65 metres, while he was part of the British team that won bronze in the 4x100 metre relay.

Daphne Belt, who won the award last year, won a commendation for sportsperson of the year.

The young sportsperson of the year was awarded to Littlehampton Swimming Club’s Caleb Grace.

Grace has been in fine form this year and has competed in an international event.

In March, Grace took part in the British Para Swimming International in Glasgow.

The Littlehampton talent also scooped three bronze medals at the South East ASA Regional Championships.

He came home third in the 50m and 200m freestyle events, while also achieving the same feat with an impressive performance in the 100m backstroke.

Commendations for young sportsperson of the year went to Ellie Hack and Beth Kincaid.

Stephen Bailey, who runs Littlehampton Amateur Boxing Club, was named coach of the year.

Bailey believes in making a difference to children and teenagers’ lives and his club shows that.

He is a qualified Amateur Boxing Association of England coach and specialises in teaching youngsters between the age of ten and 14.

The sports team of the year was won by Littlehampton Football Club.

Golds enjoyed a excellent season last time out and clinched the Sussex County League Division 1 title.

It was just the second time Golds had won the title after securing the same feat back in 1991.

Mark Bennett, who was manager of the side last season, saw his team rise from Division 2 basement boys all the way to Division 1 winners in just three seasons.

Littlehampton Swimming Club’s committee member Mick Warren was awarded administrator of the year.

Warren is membership secretary and registers all new members to the Amateur Swimming Association, as well as submitting annual returns online to the same organisation.

Commendation in the category went to Arunners’ Phil McErlain.

There was a second award of the night for Littlehampton Football Club.

This time around, it went to their youth team after they secured the Sussex County Youth title last season.

It was a special season for all involved with Golds as both senior and youth sides claimed their league crowns.

Chris Staight was rewarded for his contribution to youth sport.

The Littlehampton Cricket Club member is responsible for overseeing a number of youth teams.

In addition to his work for Littlehampton, Staight also works in a number of schools across the area to ensure a number of youngsters have access to cricket.

Littlehampton Squash Club’s Ali Lewis scooped the unsung hero of the year award.

Lewis’s work for the club may go unnoticed by many but her effort and commitment is second to none. Lewis organises the squash section at Littlehampton and also represents the side at county level.

Without her hard work and encouragement, many of the events would not be able to take place.

Lewis has also arranged a racquetball session on Wednesday mornings for some of the older members.

The final award went to Littlehampton Swimming Club for their contribution to disabled sport.

The popular club ensure they make swimming accessible for all abilities.

They have helped and supported young swimmers to overcome their disabilities and go on to achieve great things in the world of competitive swimming.

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