Women's Sports Alliance recognise quartet on awards shortlist

8 Nov 2021

There is British Swimming representation across a diverse range of shortlists in the upcoming Women's Sports Alliance Awards 2021, with Alice Dearing, Ellie Simmonds, Tom Daley and Jane Figueiredo all in the running after eye-catching years. 

The WSA event - which is taking place at Old Trafford Cricket Ground on 15th December 2021 - will celebrate a memorable 12 months for women's sport, while also doubling up as a global summit, where a series of industry expert guest speakers will discuss the highs and lows of some of the biggest sporting events of the calendar year. 

This Olympic and Paralympic year has been historic for more than one reason for British Swimming's athletes, coaches and staff. Dearing became the first Black woman to swim for Team GB at an Olympic Games - after qualifying for her debut Games thanks to a fine fourth-place finish at June's qualifier in Portugal - and her impact in and out of the water has seen her shortlisted for the Inspiration of the Year award, alongside record-breaking USA gymnast Simone Biles and Yvette Curtis, who formed a surfing group to increase female representation in the sport.

Speaking of being shortlisted, Alice said: "I am so honoured and touched to be nominated for the WSA's 'Inspiration of the Year' Award. To have my work recognised on this scale means a great deal and I am really hoping that people will look at swimming and sport as a whole and see the opportunities and experiences which are theirs for the taking." 

In the Para-Athlete of the Year category, Ellie Simmonds has been recognised for her outstanding contribution to British sport, making the shortlist alongside Dame Sarah Storey and wheelchair rugby player Kylie Grimes. Five-time Paralympic champion Simmonds announced her retirement from para-swimming in September following her fourth Paralympic Games, Tokyo 2020, where she was one of Paralympics GB's two flagbearers at the opening ceremony. 

Tom Daley and Matty Lee combined to provide one of the outstanding Olympic moments for Team GB in 2021 when they secured a dramatic Men's 10m Synchro gold - and the first person celebrating with them on poolside was coach Jane Figueiredo, who has overseen the pair's rise to the summit of the sport.

Matty Lee Jane Figueiredo Tom Daley 10m Synchro celebrations Tokyo 2020
Jane Figueiredo (centre) with Matty Lee (left) and Tom Daley

High Performance Centre Head Coach Figueiredo - who has also been part of UK Sport's Female Coaches Leadership Programme in 2021 - is up for the Coach of the Year prize at the end of a year that also saw Daley win Men's 10m Platform bronze in Tokyo. She is up against Emma Hayes, who led Chelsea to a FA Women's Super League and League Cup double, and Cecile Canqueteau-Lando, the coach of Simone Biles. 

As well as Jane's inclusion, there is also a place for Tom Daley himself in the Women's Sports Alliance awards shortlist. He is in the running to be Male Ally of the Year, with his award entry saying: "In empowering his fellow female team mates to express their voice and in his willingness to always show up to advocate for equality and LGBTQ+ rights, Tom Daley has proved that he isn’t afraid to stand up for what he believes is right."

Also up for that prize is Olympic and Paralympic broadcaster and journalist Nick Hope, a regular contributor to aquatics coverage, as well as rugby union broadcaster and commentator Nick Heath. 

To vote for Alice, Ellie, Jane, Tom and any of the other nominees, visit the Women's Sports Alliance website HERE.

Read about the trio of athletes nominated for prizes at the upcoming Sunday Times Sportswomen of the Year Awards HERE.