The event recognises and celebrates the outstanding achievements of UK athletes with disabilities, as well as clubs who have helped to make the sporting world a more diverse and inclusive place.
Awards will be up for grabs in nine prestigious Awards categories, in addition to a tenth special achievement award presented by Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson. Finalists have been shortlisted by Variety’s expert nominations committee, following nominations from the British general public.
From passionate athletes who have overcome accessibility hurdles to achieve their goals, to clubs who have gone above and beyond to inspire change and inclusivity in their sporting field, the official finalists list includes:
Rising Star Award
• Alfie Pyle (aged 21 from Sussex)
• Tyler McLelland (aged 17 from Windygates, Scotland)
• Nathan Collins (aged 22 from Swillington, West Yorkshire)
Unsung Hero Award
• Caroline Johnston, Disability Athletics (aged tbc from Glasgow, Scotland)
• Tracy Strainer, Multi-Sports (aged 53 from Aberdeen, Scotland)
• Gareth Foster, Rugby League (aged 32 from St Helens, Merseyside)
Accessible Sporting Venue Award
• Aberdeen Sports Village
• Disability Sports Yorkshire
• Sportscotland National Training Centre Inverclyde
Sports Icon Award
• Nicolas Hamilton (aged 31 from Stevenage, Hertfordshire)
• Neil Fachie MBE (aged 39 from Aberdeen, Scotland)
• Alfie Hewett (aged 25 from Norwich, Norfolk)
• England and Wales Cricket Board
• Perth and Kinross Disability Sport (PKDS)
• LUSU Sports
Champion for Change Award
• Niall Guite, Cycling (aged 29 from Sheffield, South Yorkshire)
• Nathalie McGloin, Motorsports (aged tbc from Towcester, Northamptonshire)
• Kieran Burns, Wheelchair Football (aged 26 from Bishopbriggs, Scotland)
Community and Clubs Award
• Loughborough Car Club
• Dundee Dragons Wheelchair Sports Club
• Worcester RFC
Leeds Local Legend Award
• Winner to be honoured and announced on the night of the event
Outstanding Team Achievement Award
• England Learning Disability Cricket Team
• IBSA (International Blind Sports Assoc.) World Games GB Tennis Team
• Wales Deaf Rugby
The official winners will be announced and honoured at a glittering awards dinner at the Queen’s Hotel, Leeds, on 30th October, hosted by comedian and disability advocate Adam Hills MBE, and Chief Executive Officer of GB Snowsport and Chair of British Surfing, Vicky Gosling OBE.
There will also be special performances from comedians Rosie Jones and Katerina Vrana, and attendance from sporting stars including Nicola Adams OBE, JJ Chalmers, Ed Jackson, Leeds United and the Leeds Rhinos.
Event partners include Channel 4, British Paralympics Association, England Cricket Board, England Golf, Leeds United, Leeds Rhinos, British Rowing, GB Wheelchair Rugby, Motorsport UK, and more.
Variety, the Children’s Charity provides practical support to disabled and disadvantaged children through providing wheelchairs, specialist equipment, their fully accessible Sunshine Coaches to SEND schools, and experiences on their Great Days Out.
Tushar Prabhu, Variety Trustee and Awards organizer, said: “We are incredibly excited to announce our talented list of finalists for the Variety Club Disability Sports Awards in October. Across a variety of different sports, levels, and locations, these athletes and clubs have gone above and beyond to achieve incredible things, and to help make the sporting world a more diverse and inclusive place.
While there has been great progress made by sport and disability in recent years, we have still not reached a place of equity in the sporting world. At Variety, we believe that everyone should have the chance to succeed, and these awards aim not only to celebrate inclusivity in sports, but to give athletes with disabilities the recognition they deserve.”
Adam Hills MBE said: “I am so happy to say I will be hosting the Awards in October. I am passionate about making the sporting world an inclusive place for everyone, and these awards are very important for recognising the achievements of people with disabilities. It’s fantastic to see such a step forward towards inclusivity.”
Head of Disability Cricket, England & Wales Cricket Board, Ian Martin, said: “We are delighted to be supporting the Variety Club Disability Sports Awards as we recognise the significant contribution that the disabled community make to our sport. We are committed to making cricket a game for everyone.”
Jessica Runicles, Head of Sustainability, Motorsport UK, said: “It is important for the work done by members of the disabled motorsport community to be celebrated. Ambassadors such as Nathalie McGloin and Nicolas Hamilton, and car clubs such as Loughborough, have shown that sustained success is possible on track, but have also allowed the disabled community to access – and subsequently enjoy – motorsport. Recognising those efforts via the Variety Awards will not only showcase their pioneering efforts but also inspire others to follow the opportunities they have created.”
Tickets and table bookings for the event are still available to the public, and can be purchased via the Variety website here.
To find out more about the Variety Club Disability Sports Awards, visit https://www.variety.org.uk/event/disability-sports-awards-2023/.
To find out more about Variety, the Children’s Charity, visit https://www.variety.org.uk/.