Ahead of the London Sport Awards in a couple of weeks time, we caught up with Paralympic Gold Medallist and London Sport Awards Judging Panel Member, Susie Rodgers, to hear her thoughts on what we intend to be London’s biggest celebration of grassroots sport to date
Can you tell us a bit about why you agreed to being part of the London Sport Awards Panel?
I am passionate about grassroots sport and I attended the London Sports Awards last year as a guest and speaker. When I was asked to be a part of it as a panellist this year, I jumped at the opportunity! There are so many fantastic people, volunteers and initiatives out there. It makes being a judge extremely difficult!
Why do you think it is important to celebrate the successes of grassroots physical activity and sport?
The focus in the media and publicly is very often on elite sport. However, that is the very top of sport with a long journey to get there. Grassroots sport is the basis not only for elite sport participation but actually for wider enjoyment of sport for physical health, mental well-being and so on. In fact it is even more important because it underpins and impacts on many people’s daily lives: from participants to volunteers. Sport for me at the top was a privilege but actually a job and a profession.
Grassroots sports has a tangible benefit to bringing communities together, educating young people and giving them a direction and opportunity to work and train. Winning medals is great, but I got far more out of sport than simply by winning. It helped me with my mental health and it opened many doors to meeting a diverse range of people.
There were some incredibly inspiring nominations for the awards this year, but what does a winner of a London Sport Award look like to you?
Well I think someone, a group or an activity or a club that has had a positive impact on the lives of others. Something that has resulted in positive change in community and has resulted in a demonstrable effect that can be seen. It is about longer-term impact on people’s lives rather than short-term impact from one off events.
When you were judging the nominee, was there anything that shock/surprised you about people’s efforts to get people moving in the capital?
There are some incredible initiatives out there that are fantastic and some people doing some really brilliant things in sport and volunteering. The recognition is deserved for all nominees and I hope that everyone who submitted an application realises that they are all deserving winners!
What are you most excited about the awards this year?
I am excited to see the nominees and to find out more in person about the projects and work going on. The Awards were brilliant last year and I really look forward to an enjoyable evening once again.
What would you say to someone who was thinking of putting their project forward as a nominee next year?
Definitely do it. Even if you don’t get shortlisted, that is not to say your project is not good enough, it is just that it is so difficult to pick one winner! However, putting yourself out there for recognition is always good and you never know, you may find yourself winning!