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Golden girl Denise Lewis is a winner again

THREE'S COMPANY: Denise Lewis (right) with her mother Joan and Arun King, chief executive, Sporting Equals UK

OLYMPIAN DENISE Lewis was the centre attention at the inaugural British Ethnic Diversity Sports Awards (BEDSAs) on February 21.

Sponsored by Lycamobile, Jaguar and Sport England, the awards were staged at Coventry City FC’s Ricoh Arena and the former British heptathlete was the recipient of the Jaguar Lifetime Achievement Award for her services to sport and her outstanding work with children’s medical research charity, Sparks.

A delighted Lewis said: “This event (BEDSAs) is a fantastic achievement. It has been a long time coming. I hope it goes from strength to strength.

“What I have tried to do since my heady days of competing is give back to people who need it the most; there is always something that you can do to help others.”

The pinnacle of Lewis’ outstanding career arrived when she won the gold medal at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. The Wolverhampton-born athlete was inducted into the UK Athletics Hall of fame eleven years later.

As the president of Sparks, the former athlete has been dedicated to funding and championing pioneering research into a range of conditions affecting babies, children and mums-to-be.

Lewis’ support has meant that the charity has been able to reach new audiences, raise more money and secure partnerships that will significantly advance the charity for years to come.

Lewis called her mum Joan on to the stage at the Ricoh Arena and paid tribute to her ultimate role model. “The inspiration she has given me over the years, is something that I feel that I’ve had to extend to others. My life has been about dedication, inspiration and commitment to a cause.”

As ever, Lewis was keen to inspire others, when she told the audience: “Keep working hard, believe in yourself and anything is possible. I never believed that I would have had the life I’ve had so far. Dreams can come true.”

The BEDSAs were established to honour the best of black, Asian and minority ethnic athletes as well as projects and people that support participation in sport from grass roots to elite level.

Arun Kang, chief executive of Sporting Equals UK who are co-founders of the event, said: "The awards will create a lasting legacy through the creation of a future champions programme.

"I would like to thank our sport sector partners who have committed to supporting these awards from the outset."

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