THE sixth edition of the 'Bradford Sports Awards' took place at the Bradford Hotel on Thursday evening and it certainly didn't disappoint.
The Bronte suite was lit up magnificently- shining a light on all the sporting stars of Bradford throughout the event, as the winners and those who were highly recommended, made their way to the stage.
It was a fitting reminder of the immense talent that still operates in the Bradford region, with individuals performing at local, national and international level taking their seats at their designated tables.
Wayne Jacobs, formerly of Bradford City and current Active Bradford chairman, got the night underway with a speech that highlighted the magnitude of the event, whilst thanking everyone for attending.
There were breaks throughout the evening to ensure spectators could enjoy a three course meal which was on offer, but it was the anticipation of finding out the winners which seemed to excite most people.
18 winners and 35 highly commended awards were presented by the event partners, City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council and Bradford 2025, and sponsors Living Well, JU:MP and Turner & Townsend.
In attendance, we (T&A) spoke to a number of the victors including: Emon Choudhury, Ryan Hunkin, Daniel Francis' proud mother Dagmar Waiblinger, Vivian Cromie and Jess Harrap.
The latter claimed the 'Sportswoman award' after a fantastic 2021 with the Bradford Bulls’ Women squad.
She said: "It means everything to me to be able collect this award. It shows that all my work that I put in through the pandemic has paid off.
"It was really difficult not being with the girls in person, but it's an absolute buzz now we are all back together. "
The 'Active lifestyle' winner was taken by Vivian Cromie. After being diagnosed with a long-term illness, Vivian decided he wanted to improve his fitness and so he did- exercising five days a week, attending the gym, swimming and Zumba.
He said: "It's an amazing feeling to have won this award. 12 months ago, I didn't think I'd be here because I was in a very dark place, I was 20 stone and diabetic.
"Then I found Beep (health) because I was referred to them through my diabetic nurse. I joined them and started going to the gym. The support from Beep was second to none, whether it was follow up calls, the interaction or the encouragement. I have to say the same for the staff at Sedbergh Leisure Centre.
"Before I started on my fitness journey I was struggling with my mental health, but now I have lots more confidence. I can go out, I don't feel like people are staring at me constantly and I just feel wonderful."
We also caught up with Dagmar Waiblinger, mother of Daniel Francis, who claimed the 'Sportsman award' for his call up to the African Cup of Nations with Sierra Leone
Following her son's victory, she said: "I'm extremely proud of my son. As much as I we didn't know about this, it's not a huge surprise to me because he is such a hard-working lad.
"He went away to the African Cup of Nations and he's currently playing in Germany but he will always remain grounded, and keep grounded to his Bradford roots.
"It's very much outside of his comfort zone too, to go and play for Sierra Leone because he was brought up in England. But he had a fantastic experience there.
"To be around players such as Wilfried Zaha and Nicolas Pepe (Sierra Leone faced Ivory Coast at AFCON), players he watches on TV- it's brilliant for him, our family name and I'm extremely proud of what he is achieving."
Finishing the evening off was Wayne Jacobs as he closed his tenure as Chair of Active Bradford, a post he held for eight years.
Jacobs said: “I am sad to be leaving the organisation but proud of what Active Bradford has achieved during my involvement, working with a number of partners to keep the district active, this despite some very difficult circumstances over the past two years. 
"I am also delighted with the success of the Bradford Sports Awards now celebrating its sixth year and growing in stature year on year." 
He was then presented with a special award from Kersten England, Chief Executive of City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council.