AWARDS: Rugby canoeist on national shortlist

Kimberley Woods. Picture Balint Vekassy
Kimberley Woods. Picture Balint Vekassy
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Seventeen-year-old slalom canoeist Kimberley Woods has been named as one of just three British athletes to be shortlisted for SportsAid’s prestigious One-to-Watch Award, previously won by Olympic diver Tom Daley.

Chosen from more than 1,700 of the UK’s best young sportsmen and women – all of whom have been supported by SportsAid this year – Kimberley said: “I would love to thank those who nominated me for this award. I am very grateful to be shortlisted.”

At the junior canoe slalom world championships this year Kimberley won two medals including gold in the women’s single-kayak team event. Other factors that led to her being shortlisted by judges from the BBC, UK Sport, SportsAid and Sport England are her commitment to her sport and her potential for future success.

“This past year has been a big year for me, getting onto the senior team for the first time and also winning medals internationally,” she added. “My biggest achievement was winning gold and becoming junior European champion. I’m aiming to be even better and accomplish more medals next year, and I wouldn’t be able to do this without all the support I have now, so thank you.”

Andy Maddock from GB Canoeing added: “Kimberley’s achievements this season have made an impact at the senior as well as junior level in the sport and with a further year as a junior, 2013 promises to be another showcase for her talent.

“Kimberley’s success has not come without a huge level of commitment from her and her support team, in particular her grandparents who enable her to fit training around her school life. At 17 years old she is not only professional and very humble but a great ambassador for our sport and with that attitude can go as far as she dares to push.”

The chairman of the judging panel was BBC sports commentator Paul Dickenson who added: “The quality of the field made the shortlist a tough choice this year but in the end the commitment and potential in the three finalists shone through. They are all exciting prospects for the future.”

The winner of the One-to-Watch Award will be announced at SportsAid’s annual SportsBallTM in London on November 21, where many stars of London 2012 are coming together to support the next generation.

Tickets are available at www.sportsball.org.uk.

Picture courtesy Balint Vekassy