Annie Last is first in roll of honour as county's top stars are hailed at Roundhouse
CYCLING star Annie Last was crowned the University of Derby Sportsperson of the Year at last night's Derbyshire Sports Awards.
Last made her Olympic debut in London this year after becoming the first British woman to qualify to compete in the mountain biking event at the Olympics since 2000.
The 22-year-old finished in eighth place at the 2012 Games after two years of non-stop racing around the world to gain enough qualification points. She gained her first podium place at an Elite World Cup race, in Val d'Isere, a few weeks before the Olympics when she finished third .
The Great Longstone cyclist received her award at The Roundhouse last night from Professor John Coyne, Vice-Chancellor at the University of Derby, the title sponsors of the event.
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Cllr Carol Hart, chair of Derbyshire Sport, said: "It is fantastic to see that Derbyshire has such a wealth of talented sports performers, great clubs and dedicated coaches and volunteers, who are all committed to improving sport in Derbyshire.
"And it is great to be able to recognise the dedication these people show and the contribution that they make.
"My congratulations go to each of the winners and I wish them many more years of sporting success.
"It was wonderful to see so many people join us at The Roundhouse to celebrate all that is great about sport in Derbyshire."
Guest of honour was Sally Gunnell OBE, who won gold in the 400m hurdles at the Barcelona Olympics in 1992. Joining her were some of Derbyshire's Olympic and Paralympic athletes – swimmer Ross Davenport, Last, gymnast Jennifer Pinches, wheelchair basketball player Maddie Thompson, sitting volleyball player Andrea Green, powerlifter Anthony Peddle and wheelchair fencer Simon Wilson, who all competed at London 2012.
Davenport, who announced his retirement from swimming last week, was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his sporting successes. During his career he competed at the Olympics in 2004, 2008 and 2012, and also won four Commonwealth Games medals.
Last night's awards ceremony also honoured Derbyshire County Cricket Club and its historic achievement of winning the LV Division Two title and gaining promotion to the top flight of English cricket.
Trophies were awarded in 11 categories.
Wheelchair basketball player Jon Hall, from Clowne, was named the University of Derby Disabled Sportsperson of the Year.
He was a member of the GB men's team which finishedfourth at the 2012 Paralympic Games, and also won gold at the European Championships and silver at the Paralympic World Cup.
Teenage tennis player Jay Clarke, from Pear Tree, was the winner in the International Golf Development Junior Sportsman of the Year category.
The 14-year-old is the number one ranked U14 boy in Europe and has represented Great Britain numerous times this year.
He helped to secure the Winter Cup team title for Britain in Turkey, coming through both the qualifying and main draw event without losing a match.
Clarke also sealed back-to-back victories in grade one events in Rome and Bucharest earlier this year and won the U14 AEGON Junior National Doubles title.
Derventio eXcel swimming star Molly Renshaw was named the Derby City Council Junior Sportswoman of the Year for the second year running.
The 16-year-old won gold in the 200m breaststroke at the European Junior Championships, breaking the British age group record. She also won a gold medal at the Senior Nationals in the 200m breaststroke and a silver at the British Championships in the same event.
Other awards presented on the night included the Derby Telegraph Service to Sport Award, which was presented to John Thompson from Wirksworth by Peter Green, sports editor of the Derby Telegraph.
Thompson has been centrally involved in the development of Wirksworth Cricket Club, its merger with Middleton Cricket Club, and other sports in Wirksworth.
The winner of the Origination Junior Disabled Sportsperson of the Year was Maddie Thompson, from Hope, who was part of the GB women's wheelchair basketball team which finished seventh at the 2012 Paralympic Games and fourth at the Paralympic World Cup.
Draycott & Long Eaton Table Tennis Club won the Cooper Parry Club of the Year title – the second time in three years that they have won the award.
The Derby College Coach of the Year title was jointly awarded to Jamie Maudsley, head coach of the Derby Trailblazers Senior Division One men's basketball team, and Paul Standring, from Sandiacre Town Cricket Club.
There were also joint winners in the Derbyshire County Council Young Sports Leader/Young Coach of the Year category, which was presented to Beth Grainger – a gymnastics coach and athletics official from Kirk Hallam – and Luke Sheldon, who runs a football team at Eckington School and devised the 'Breaking Down Barriers' programme to raise awareness about disability sport.
Two awards were also presented to Derbyshire businesses and organisations who are involved in sport and physical activity.
The Matrix Sport Sponsorship Award was presented to Flint Bishop in recognition of its support for Derbyshire charity Sporting Futures. The Derby-based law firm has provided financial and in-kind support to the work of Sporting Futures, including its Derby 10k race.
Meanwhile, the Active Derbyshire Active Workplace Award was presented to Derbyshire Dales District Council in recognition of the range of activities available to staff, which includes a Workplace Walking for Health group, a table tennis club, weekly Back to Netball, yoga and football sessions, a running club and a cricket team, as well as discounted gym memberships.