Finalists selected for Hartlepool Mail Sports Awards

Sports awards judges (left to right) Gemma Ptak, Ian Walker, Jim Rodgers, Joy Yates and Andy Powell

Sports awards judges (left to right) Gemma Ptak, Ian Walker, Jim Rodgers, Joy Yates and Andy Powell

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A SUPER selection of grand finalists has been chosen for the Hartlepool Mail Sports Awards.

But it was no easy task for the judges to pick the worthy few from a top-notch selection of entrants to our inaugural competition.

Judges met yesterday at the Brierton Centre in Hartlepool to sift through a great field in every category. There were impressive nominations from referees to those who have contributed to sports for the disabled.

There were unsung heroes galore to consider, as well as those who have made their mark on international competition. And there were young sporting stars along with those who have given a lifetime of commitment.

Yet while only a few will go on to the finals night, every one of the entrants could have been a worthy winner.

The judges carefully went through every nomination.

The panel which had that difficult task consisted of Hartlepool Mail editor Joy Yates, Hartlepool Borough Council’s senior sports and physical activity co-ordinator Gemma Ptak, Specsavers director Ian Walker, Hartlepool Sports Council secretary Jim Rodgers, and Andy Powell, the director of housing services at Housing Hartlepool.

It took more than two hours to pick their favourites in the 13 categories up for grabs.

Ian admitted: “There are a lot of very strong entries and it makes choosing the winners very hard.”

Gemma paid tribute to the many people who had strived to make Hartlepool a town of sporting excellence.

Andy agreed that many of the people nominated had helped to put Hartlepool in the spotlight.

Jim described how Hartlepool had sport to be proud of at every level, while Joy said: “There are so many people who give up so much time for sport in this town and that is why this is so difficult.”

Every judge agreed there were worthy winners across the board as well as a hugely impressive shortlist for each category.

But even though the select few have now been chosen to battle it out for the trophies, they will not learn their fate until next month.

The awards will come to a conclusion at the glittering awards night to be held in early October at the Hardwick Hall Hotel in Sedgefield.

And after that, we will be producing a supplement filled with photographs and interviews with every one of our winners.

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