Sporting Champions Awards 2012: Could tennis star Josh Lazenby be a winner?
ENTRIES have started pouring in for the Mail's Sporting Champions 2012 awards – with the undoubted local talent already beginning to shine.
The awards have been launched to turn the spotlight on the best junior and amateur sporting talent in the region.
As well as recognising sporting excellence, they will also reward and recognise those who have gone the extra mile to help clubs and individuals shine.
One of those young individuals shining, and already nominated for the awards, is 13-year-old rising tennis star Josh Lazenby.
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Josh has been nominated for the junior boy of the year (aged up to 16) category following a year to remember in 2012.
In the year that British tennis received a major boost on the back of Olympic gold and US Open success for Andy Murray, Josh has been blazing his own trail in junior tennis circles, not only locally, but nationally.
His list of titles and honours this year already includes the AEGON Junior National Boys Doubles, the AEGON National County Champion, Yorkshire Boys singles and doubles, Hull Open and Sheffield Open at under-12, as well as the Yorkshire singles and doubles title in the under-14 age group.
"Josh's coaches describe him as a model athlete – diligent, polite and always willing to listen and to apply what he has learnt," explained Josh's proud father Pete.
"He also manages to achieve this with a smile on his face. He is rarely upset on the court, despite having an iron determination, genuine courage and an enormous will to win.
"He trains for hours every week at Nuffield tennis centre working on his fitness, skills, tactics and match-play, and fits his schoolwork around it.
"His entire family is prodigiously proud of him and he remains calm and level-headed, even embarrassed a bit by any attention. He is a great champion, and a lovely boy."
The awards for Junior Boy and Girl, aged up to 16, are sponsored by Hull-based home improvement company EYG.
Joint managing director, Nick Ward, said the company was delighted to be helping identify the stars of the future across East Yorkshire.
"As a Hull-based company, we are delighted to be backing two awards which will recognise the top young sporting talent in the region," said Mr Ward.
"We have seen the lift Luke Campbell's Olympic success gave the entire city, and hopefully we can play our part in inspiring more young sports stars to follow their dreams and achieve their goals by backing these two awards."
Josh is exactly the type of sporting success the Mail is looking to highlight, with his honours this year just reward for his countless hours of hard work since first picking up a tennis racquet aged five.
Another nine other categories are open to recognise and reward sporting talent and achievement.
The awards will culminate in a glittering awards night at the KC Stadium on Thursday, November 8, where nominees will rub shoulders with stars from the city's professional clubs and other special guests.
The Sporting Champions event will support the Hull and East Yorkshire Smile Foundation, an organisation which currently supports three charities in the area – Hornsea Inshore Rescue, The Friends of Hull Memory Clinic and Sunshine House.
HOW TO ENTER
• Nominate a sporting star by completing our online entry form here.
• Alternatively, download a copy of the entry form and post it to Paul Baxter, sports editor, The Mail, Blundell's Corner, Hull, HU3 1XS.
• Read more about the Sporting Champions Awards categories here.
• And download an awards brochure here.