REIGNING 800m Olympic champion Becky Adlington picked up an early birthday present last night when she was crowned Nottinghamshire’s Sportsperson of the Year for 2011.
The Mansfield swim-star who is celebrating her 23rd birthday today (Friday 17th February), picked up the top honour after beating off rival candidates including Ravenshead’s world silver badminton medallist Chris Adcock to cap another memorable year.
Stuart Pearce was the first winner of the Sportsperson of the Year category in 1992 and other past winners include golfer Lee Westwood (1996 and 2010) and boxer Carl Froch (2005 and 2009).
Adlington, who landed the 800m freestyle crown in Beijing in a new world record time as well as the 400m freestyle title, is currently in intensive training ahead of the British selection trials for the London 2012 Olympics between 3rd and 10th March.
Speaking after the ceremony, delighted mum Kay said: “It is so nice for Becky to have been given this award, which is a great honour. When you see the type of people in the room you realise what a great county for sport Nottinghamshire really is.
“Seeing these high-calibre athletes together really puts into perspective what a great honour this is. There were so many people in attendance who deserve great credit for all their efforts. This award will give Becky a big confidence boost.
“She has had a tremendous amount of support locally from businesses, from Nova, from the council and it is nice for Becky to have got the recognition.”
Fellow swimmer Ollie Hynd was also left celebrating after scooping the Junior Disabled Sportsperson of the Year - an honour previously held by his brother Sam.
Ollie (17) has proved to be an excellent rival in the pool to Sam and claimed a gold, a silver and two bronze medals at the PIC European Championships in Berlin last year.
Agent Chris Whitaker said: “Ollie is delighted with this award, it is nice for him to get the recognition for all the effort and hard work he has put in.
“This will give Ollie a confidence boost ahead of the selection trials. He is training hard at the moment and we will just see what happens during the trials and take it from there.”
To see a video of Ollie Hynd’s last media briefing ahead of the selection trials click here