Former College duo crowned best of British at athletics awards

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Two Tokyo Games medallists and Loughborough College alumni have been named as the best of British in the British Athletics Writers’ Association Awards 2021.

Olympic 800m silver medallist Keely Hodgkinson was crowned the British Female Athlete of the Year while Paralympic 100m T38 gold medallist Thomas Young was named as the British Male Para Athlete of the Year. 

In a phenomenal first full year on the senior circuit, in addition to Olympic success, Keely also claimed European indoor 800m gold and won the Diamond League 800m title.

She told the awards: “I’m really honoured to be named BAWA female athlete of the year. It’s amazing to win this award in any year, but to win it in Olympic year just makes it that bit more special. I think the female athletes in our sport this year have been incredible so I’m really grateful to receive this.”

Thomas Young, 21, prevailed in a fiercely-fought battle for Male Para Athlete of the Year after winning T38 Paralympic 100m gold in a European record 10.94sec. Earlier in the season, he had successfully defended his European title. It is the third time Thomas has won this award.

He told the awards: “Thank you so much for selecting me as your male para athlete of the year. This award means a lot.”

Danny Lee, Curriculum Manager for Sport FE at Loughborough College, said: “We are running out of superlatives to describe the achievements of these incredible young athletes. These awards are thoroughly deserved and hard won.

“What I think sets them, and all elite sportspeople, apart is the way in which they’ve combined their natural talent with extraordinary hard work. We’re extremely proud to see how they’ve developed as athletes and as people.”

Keely and Thomas both graduated through the College’s various sport programmes. The College recently launched its search for the next generation of exceptional talent through a unique Athletics Academy.

Former Olympic medallist Martyn Rooney is now Loughborough College’s Academy Coordinator. He said: “People like Keely and Tom are shining examples of what can be achieved with the right balance of talent, hard work and a world class attitude to learning.

“Through our new academy, we aim to recruit more people like Keely and Thomas and help them fulfil their potential in the same way.”

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