We had the BEST time at the first ever Out For Sport Awards on Friday night, so kindly hosted by the Mayor of London at City Hall.
In case you missed it, you can read about all of our incredible winners here!
And the winners are:
Club Spirit Award – celebrating role models
Winner: Ubaid-ul Rehman – Goslings Badminton Club
Ubaid works tirelessly behind the scenes as chairman of Goslings London Badminton. He has a really strong focus on creating an inclusive environment and he runs a club which welcomes players of all abilities. The club now has four separate nights and participates in tournaments across Europe. Ubaid takes great care to communicate regularly with all members and ensure that all new players are made to feel welcome including through our monthly open night and social when he takes great care to talk to everyone. Ubaid is a fantastic role model and as a gay, deaf and Muslim Chairperson he understands better than anyone of the importance to ensure the club is accessible to all and he is fiercely committed to making sure Goslings is lives up to these values. This year Ubaid has suffered a number of injuries but it hasn’t stopped him supporting his fellow players or dented his selfless approach to giving up so much time to run the club. He is a true hero.
Team of the Year – celebrating team sporting success
Winner: London Royals Hockey Club women’s team
This was the second season in existence for the newly formed London royals women’s 1s team. With over thirty-three different ladies playing for the team, we’ve not had a problem getting sufficient numbers on a weekly basis at all. The team spans great ranges in age and hockey experience: we’re between twenty-one and sixty years old, and half of the team were returning after a long hiatus or were brand new to hockey. The other half had played for teams before and had even left other clubs to play for the Royals. Although we are an LGBT+ club, we have players from different backgrounds explicitly wanting to play for us because they appreciate the welcoming atmosphere and diversity. On the pitch, the team has been more than successful. They were promoted the second season in a row, with a goal difference of 101, scoring 113 goals throughout the season. Fifteen different team members managed to get their names on the scoreboard. Feedback over the season, often in writing after a match, has been that although we are a tough opposition, we are a friendly and fair team to play. And we wear the best socks. Every week we would be training and working together, overcoming the very different levels of skills and experience and starting a completely new team from scratch. The fact that eleven different players have been nominated for ‘Players’ Player’ of the season is testament to the fact that we have succeeded in creating a team of teammates, who, in spite of being at different places in their hockey journeys, play with and for each other! Because of that success we have other players who have changed clubs and teams (even to our lower division) because we are a team that enjoys playing and gets the balance right between competition and fun, and welcomes new teammates. But we are more than a good hockey team: we are a family, and we will continue to be a place where people don’t need to be afraid of who they are, on and off the pitch.
Outstanding Achievement Award – triumphing against the odds
Winner: Hunter Charlton – Positive Strokes
Positive Strokes is nominating Hunter Charlton for his outstanding exploit of crossing the Channel last September. Hunter trained with us during the summer and we were all impressed on how seriously he was taking his training regime and the forthcoming crossing. Our club is promoting swimming for the HIV positive community and thus encouraging our members to look after their physical and mental wellbeing in an inclusive and stigma free environment and Hunter’s incredible achievement is both an inspiration and encouragement for all of us. It strongly demonstrates that someone’s status is not a barrier to achieving great sporting successes. As an out gay and HIV positive young man, Hunter has given a voice to all the positive men and women who have been afraid, or ashamed of coming out about their status. In our small club, we will now be able to tell our swimmers, whether beginners or advanced, whatever their story or trauma linked to HIV, that anything is possible.
Most Innovative Project – recognising creating project work
Winner: LGBT Powerlifting Union
The LGBT International Powerlifting Championships (run by the LGBT Powerlifting Union) are the first sporting event in the world to have introduced a third gender MX Category in 2018 and 2019. The LGBT IPC offers optional MX Category, with Trans, Non Binary and Intersex participants able to choose their gender category (M, F or MX) from day one of their transition. The aim is to empower, encourage and inspire young LGBT+ athletes, by providing a safe space within strength sports for new athletes to develop. The LGBT IPC also has a seperate novice category for first time lifters, to encourage new people into Powerlifting, who may not otherwise feel able to participate. With the support of mainstream federations a development route has been created for LGBT+ athletes to be included in the sport.
Unsung Hero Award – celebrating those working tirelessly behind the scenes
Winner: Hilary Gerlis – Out To Swim
If asked to describe what she does for the Club, Hilary invariably says “the boring bits”, but this tells nothing of the importance and value of her input. Unglamorous they may be, but they are an essential part of the framework that ensures the smooth running of the Club for the benefit of all. Hilary has been heavily involved in rewriting the Club’s Constitution and Byelaws and in navigating the many challenges presented by the Charity Commission on the way to achieving charitable status for the Club earlier this year. Since then, she has been systematically and painstakingly reviewing the Club’s policies and procedures, ensuring compliance with Data Protection Regulations and in securing SwimMark Essential Full Accreditation. These have been major, time-consuming undertakings requiring attention to detail, patience and determination, all of which Hilary possesses in spades. Her legal background and detailed approach, combined with her many years of involvement with the Club, make Hilary an invaluable asset to the Club. She is able to identify and provide sensible solutions to problems and ensure a sound, reliable basis for the Club as it moves forward and continues to grow. Hilary’s dedication and hard word is all the more remarkable in view of her own ongoing health challenges, not least battling back from a near-fatal stroke some years ago. The fact that she fought back from such a serious illness with such determination is no surprise to anyone who knows her. She applies this same tenacity to her work for Out to Swim and the Club benefits hugely from her ongoing yet largely uncelebrated – input.
Most Inclusive Club – celebrating inclusive clubs
Winner: Goslings Badminton Club
Under Ubaid-ul Rehman’s leadership Goslings London has become not only one of the largest gay sports club but also arguably the most inclusive. Ubaid is gay, Muslim and deaf and perhaps understands better than anyone how important it is that the club is welcoming to all and he and his committee have worked tirelessly to make sure this is the case. A rarity for badminton clubs (which often cater to certain standards of players or have a minimum ability level) the club is open and accessible to all standards of play and offers badminton on four nights across the capital. Crucially Ubaid and the committee have championed the importance of women in the club, ensuring representation on the committee and increasing their participation including through running a mixed doubles tournament with the London Fit Women badminton club. The committee have established a really friendly environment and run lots of different types of social events to help our members establish life long friendships and a strong team ethic. The club had a stall at the annual out for sport fair and was recognised for having the most diverse set of representatives of any the clubs present, in terms of age, sex and race. This reflects an understanding of the need to be visibly diverse when the club is promoted externally. The club raised over £700 for LGBT charities such as London Friend, London Switchboard and Terrance Higgins Trust.
Sportsperson of the Year – celebrating individual sporting success
Winner: Olivia Poole – London Frontrunners
Liv had a Kona dream and this season everything came together. She’s a strong athlete, that’s for sure. While her haphazard way of training puzzled others, it clearly worked for her. Here is a list of a few things she’s done this season: London Triathlon – age group 1st place European Triathlon championship – GB representation Earned her 3rd London Classics medal Age group winner Greece 70.3 and qualification to 70.3 half Ironman World Championship Nice (and raced it) 2nd place age group Ironman Norway and qualification to Ironman World Championship Kona (and raced it) Dragon Ride 300km 2nd woman She also had time to ride a tandem with her wife, fundraise for charity and race in relay for London Frontrunners.
Emerging Club of the Year – celebrating new growth
Winner: LGBT Knockout Boxing
Wanting to create a club run by queer people for queer people, to create a safe space and break down the barriers LGBTQ+ people feel when engaging in sport, and to just do things differently to your run-of-the-mill boxing class at the gym, Knockout London was born over a few drinks in the Welly in Soho in January 2016. In the (almost) four years since, the club has expanded from one class a week to two; incorporated contact sparring into our classes; and we’ve seen many of our members compete in bouts in events across London, snatching trophies along the way. Our coach Paul, who’s been with us for the last three years, is a fantastic ally, working in partnership with us on developing the type of classes we want. And as classes have become so busy with newbies every week, two of our committee members have started on the road to full boxing coach accreditation, with potentially more to follow so we can provide the right level of support to our members. Ultimately, it’s up to our members what they want to do with the boxing skills they learn at Knockout. We know there’s an appetite for competing as our boxers go on to sign up for (and win at) events like Pride Boxing and other white-collar bouts; but we also know some of our boxers just want to learn to box or to get fit, for self-defence or to grow in confidence. Currently we don’t heavily promote ourselves as numbers are steadily growing through word of mouth, our links with OFS, and taking part in fantastic events like Pride in London. That’s why plans are underway to partner with a boxing gym in central London, so our boxers can train with us up to three times a week, and will also open us up to a whole new market of LGBTQ+ people who can’t make it up to our north-east London home. It’s an exciting time for Knockout as we move forward into 2020. Let’s go, Champs!
Lifetime Achievement – Ivan Bussens Award
Winner: Malcolm Breingan – Gay Sunday Badminton Club
Malcolm will soon be 80 years old. He has been instrumental in keeping our little group of badminton players together for almost 40 years. He is charismatic and inspirational, always modest and self deprecating, he nurtures the group and brings out the best in everyone. We have some who are just beginning , right through to very fine players. He promotes tolerance and respect, and is a real role model for us. Behind the scenes he deals single-handed with booking courts, looking after the money, organising tournaments and prizes, and makes sure that we have theatre trips, parties, pub visits and a Christmas meal. Although now in his late 70’s, he still plays to a good standard and is an ace organiser. We can always call on Malcolm to support us through times of trouble and illness. In short Malcolm is a shining light in our LGBT firmament and I comend him to you for this Lifetime Achievement Award.
Club of the Year – acknowledging excellence
Winner: Ishigaki Jujitsu
Senior coaches have worked hard to ensure that members achieve their full potential and excellence in Jujitsu. This program is paying dividends, a clear example being seen at the Paris Gay Games with 16 out of 18 competitors winning medals. Participants were awarded Gold and Silver medals at the National Competitions (November 2018) and 3 gold,1 Bronze at the Southern (Kent) National competition in April. The club has also hosted a KOBUDU weapons seminar – the first time the National organisation has permitted it to do so – reflecting the appreciation at national level of the clubs competence and high standards The club undertook a complete administrative overhaul in 2018. Recognising that excellence in Jujitsu did not necessarily equate to running a successful club – a division was made between its Training Function and its administrative function – which is open to any club member by way of election. This has enabled the club to harness the talent within the membership and has seen the club grow year on year due to the innovation and drive of its administrative committee. Such achievements being the launch of a new website, a new joiners program and retention of members program, use of eventbrite and an aggressive social media campaign on both facebook and twitter. Recognising that Pride is a showcase for LGBT+ talent, the club created two bespoke Pride Fan Kata’s. The first kata (group presentation) showcasing a variety of effective moves twinned with the campness. The second showing duelling couples – again combining effective martial moves with a hint of LGBT+ panache. Pride London awarding us Marching Group of the Year. Seeing the rise of violence in the LGBT + communities, Ishigaki has responded by offering either single session or multiple session self defence courses. Specific self-defence courses have been held for other clubs or have been tailored for groups, such as a trans Group in Brighton that approached for assistance
HUGE congratulations to all of our amazing winners!! And a huge well done to all those shortlisted who just missed out too!
We have to say a huge thank you to the Mayor of London’s sport team for being so supportive of our work and for letting us take over City Hall tonight for the first ever Out For Sport Awards!
But most of all we have to say a ginormous THANK YOU to each and everyone one of you for doing all that you do!
You are all amazing parts of the Out For Sport family, providing sporting experiences for LGBT+ people & we love you all so much!!
Everyone has the right to participate!
Photographs by Simon Neller