Friday, June 21, 2024

Sports activities Persona of the 12 months 2023: Fatima Whitbread wins Helen Rollason Award


Former javelin world champion Fatima Whitbread has been honoured with the Helen Rollason Award at Sports activities Persona of the 12 months 2023.

Whitbread, now 62, spent the primary 14 years of her life in youngsters’s properties after being deserted as a child.

After being fostered, she went on to interrupt the javelin world file and win world and European Championship gold.

The Helen Rollason Award recognises excellent achievement within the face of adversity.

Whitbread now campaigns to enhance the care system and guarantee youngsters in care are “seen, heard and valued”.

“It is a very particular award, Helen was a good friend,” Whitbread mentioned.

“I bear in mind Helen ringing me and asking for me to be her first worldwide athlete to be interviewed. I had simply received the World Championships in 1987.

“Now she has given me the chance to face on this stage and communicate out loud for our youngsters. I stand right here, and I am privileged and proud to obtain this award, and I characterize the care system sector and have fun our younger youngsters, the exceptional resilience they present.”

The Helen Rollason Award was launched to Sports activities Persona of the 12 months in 1999 in reminiscence of the BBC Sport journalist and presenter, who died of most cancers that yr on the age of 43.

Whitbread, who was named Sports activities Persona of the 12 months in 1987, was offered together with her award by 1972 Olympic pentathlon champion Girl Mary Peters and former world champion hurdler Colin Jackson.

Throughout her time in care, Whitbread skilled bodily and sexual abuse throughout compelled visits to her organic mom.

Sport was her “saviour”, and thru it she met javelin coach Margaret Whitbread – finally being fostered by the Whitbread household and altering her surname by deed ballot.

Whitbread launched into a profession in athletics, and after struggling to land a serious title amid her well-publicised rivalry with fellow Briton Tessa Sanderson, broke the ladies’s javelin world file in qualifying on the 1986 European Championships in Stuttgart, Germany.

Throwing 77.44m – greater than two metres additional than the earlier file – Whitbread grew to become the primary British athlete to set a world file in a throwing occasion and went on to win the gold medal.

The next yr she received World Championship gold in Rome, and in 1988 in Seoul, she received Olympic silver – 4 years after successful bronze on the Los Angeles Video games.

Rugby league legend Rob Burrow – who was identified with motor neurone illness in 2019 – received the Helen Rollason Award in 2022. Different earlier winners embrace Scotland rugby union nice Doddie Weir, Hillsborough catastrophe campaigner Anne Williams, soccer fan Bradley Lowery and racing driver Billy Monger.

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