May’s top sporting performers

ActionWomanAward_LogoLiz Byrnes and Sue Mott cast their eyes over the list of contenders whose outstanding and inspiring performances during May have put them in line to win the title of Action Woman of the Year 2016

Read about previous months’ star performers:  January / February / March / April

Picture by Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com
Picture by Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com

GRACE REID
DIVING

For landing the gold medal – along with Tom Daley – in the mixed three-metre synchro diving at the European Aquatic Championships, and the bronze in the individual event. Incredibly she had only trained for a week with Daley before the event, but they were in the medal positions throughout the competition.

Reid, who was Scotland’s youngest athlete when she qualified for the 2010 Commonwealth Games aged 14, said: “There’s a lot to take away and hopefully I can continue to build on it this season. She described her love of diving “as being the nearest thing to flying”.

By taking third place in the women’s three-metre springboard she claimed Scotland’s first individual diving medal since the late Peter Heatley won bronze in the 10-metres 62 years ago.

GB 4×100 MEDLEY RELAY TEAM
SWIMMING

For claiming the gold medal in the medley relay at the European Championships in London and laying down a marker for the Olympic Games. The GB quartet of Kathleen Dawson, Chloe Tutton, Siobhan O’Connor and Fran Halsall beat off Italy and Finland to win the title in three minutes 58.57 seconds.

O’Connor said: “The girls put in some amazing swims. It’s been a fantastic week for us and to top it with such a great win is the icing on the cake.”

For Halsall, the meet marked 10 years since she made her senior international debut, and she held off Britta Steffen on the anchor leg. She said: “For me all I had to do was make sure I hit the wall first again. I feel like I’ve got an easy ride on these relays because that’s all I have to do. Now I’m really looking forward to the Olympics.”

While Halsall will feature in her third Olympics this summer, and O’Connor her second, Chloe Tutton will make her debut after a season that has seen her break the British 200 metres breaststroke record as well as win bronze over 100 in London. Also in third place on the podium was Dawson in the 100 backstroke. The 18 year old, though, will not be going to Rio; she has instead been included on the Tokyo 2020 programme.

jes andrewsJESS ANDREWS
ATHLETICS

For smashing her own personal best by an incredible eighty-three seconds to win the British 10,000 metres trials and qualify for the Rio Olympics. And she left trailing in her wake European champion Jo Pavey, hobbled by illness, and the world champion, Kenya’s Linet Masai.

Almost unknown in Britain before the event and described as “unheralded” afterwards, the 23-year-old athlete from the Isle of Wight had disappeared to Andorra with her fiance, the Irish Road cyclist Dan Martin, for a year or so having fallen out of love with running. “Then I decided to do some small races on Saturday or Sunday mornings and I just loved it. I’ve been training really hard, crazy hard, but I’m still a little bit shell-shocked. I can’t believe I’m off to Rio. It’s amazing.”

Martin tweeted: “Can’t say how proud I am of my fiancée,” tweeted Martin. “Still speechless. Plays a huge part in my success. I’ll have to up my game.”

Jess Andrews on Twitter

Nicola Adams of Great Britain celebrates her gold medal victory over Cancan Ren of China in the women's boxing Flyweight final of the 2012 London Olympic Games at the ExCel Arena August 9, 2012 in London. Adams won the first ever women's Olympic flyweight final with a 16-7 win over China's world champion Ren Cancan to claim the hosts' first boxing gold. AFP PHOTO / Jack GUEZ (Photo credit should read JACK GUEZ/AFP/GettyImages)

NICOLA ADAMS
BOXING

For completing the full set of international titles with the flyweight gold medal at the AIBA World Championships in Kazakhastan. The 33 year old added the world crown to her Olympic, Commonwealth and European titles by beating Thailand’s Peamwilai Leopeam on a split decision.

Adams’s victory ended a run of three consecutive silver medals in the world championships after landing her first one in 2008, in Ningbo, China. She said: “To finally become world champion after losing out in three previous finals is very satisfying. It shows that if you stick to your goals and work hard you can achieve them in the end.”

Nicola Adams on Twitter

Dan CArter 1DAN CARTER
FOOTBALL

For the wonder goal that sealed Arsenal Ladies’ a record fourteenth FA Cup victory in the competition (out of fifteen final appearances) and drew rave reviews from the world of sport – “What a goal to win a Wembley final,” said Arsenal legend Ian Wright – and beyond. “Congratulations,” tweeted Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn.

Before a competition record crowd of 32,912 at Wembley, the 22-year-old striker, nicknamed Welbz after fellow Arsenal player Danny Welbeck, scored the only goal of the game against Chelsea, cutting ruthlessly inside and curling a wicked shot beyond reach of the goalkeeper into the top corner.

Scorer of a hat-trick on her England debut last year, Carter had proper perspective to judge whether the goal was her greatest. “I think it has to be right up there,” she said. “To get a winner at Wembley is something I’ve always dreamed of.”

Dan Carter on Twitter

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Sue Mott is an award-winning sport journalist who has worked on radio, TV and the written press. Sue’s latest articles

Liz Byrnes. After an early career in PR and marketing, Liz changed her focus to what she had always really wanted and re-trained as a journalist in Sheffield. She spent 12 years at PA where she covered football, athletics and swimming before going freelance in January 2014. She now works for a number of organisations including The Guardian, BBC, Sheffield Star, Wardles, SwimVortex, AFP and Arena. Liz’s latest articles

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