We caught up with London Sport Awards Judging Panellist, Leon Mann, who, with over a decade of experience working in sport and media, offered a wealth of knowledge to the judging this year. Find out what he said below:
Can you tell us about why you agreed to being part of the London Sport Awards Panel?
I was delighted to be asked to help judge the London Sport awards. I’m a proud Londoner and am engaged in sport in many ways – from my work in the industry to running in the park and taking my daughters to various clubs and classes. So many brilliant things are taking place across the capital, so being involved in the judging process allowed me to learn as much as offer my view.
Why is important to celebrate the successes of grassroots physical activity and sport?
We routinely celebrate those at the elite level of sport, often with little or no recognition that all of their journeys will have started at the grassroots. Without the incredible clubs, organisations and individuals out there we wouldn’t see the stars coming through.
I am feel very passionately about what recognition can do for people and their work. By highlighting success others are inspired, good practice is shared and those delivering sport are rightly given an opportunity to pause and feel proud of their achievements.
What does a winner of a London Sport Award look like to you?
Having read through every submission for the London Sport awards I can sincerely say that every single one of the applications was deserving of an award – however, we know that’s not possible. The diverse range of individuals, groups, clubs and organisations reflected the London I am fiercely proud of. The winners look like London… diverse, ambitious, giving and committed to improving lives through sport.
Top day at Wembley helping to judge the @londonsport Awards! Some ridiculously hard decisions made as a result of the general awesomeness of clubs, organisations and individuals using sport to help change lives! Definitely feeling the positive vibes right now ✊🏽 pic.twitter.com/eihyRCuEs4
— Leon Mann MBE (@Leon_Mann) January 24, 2018
When you were judging the nominations, was there anything that surprised you about people’s efforts to get people moving in the capital?
I think the sheer range of activities and groups that the nominees were working with made me appreciate how much outstanding work is going on. We need to see more great work, and support this adequately, but I believe there was a lot to feel positive about from those applications.
What are you most looking forward to on the night?
Awards are very much about the people and the vibe created in the room. I hope and believe that everyone’s first ambition is that sport continues to change lives in London. So this is a celebration of everyone’s efforts to do that not just a series of individuals and clubs that will pick up awards. I’m most excited about being part of creating that warmth and positive energy.
What would you say to someone who was thinking of putting their project forward as a nominee next year?
Do it. By highlighting great work – you will inspire others. This is about encouraging and supporting the many, not the few.