The highlight of the Northern Ireland sporting scene’s social calendar is undoubtedly the Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards.
Every year a team of celebrities, up and coming athletes and the cream of Northern Ireland’s business and media worlds join forces with the Telegraph to honour our finest sports stars and their remarkable achievements.
This year was a first – the Sports Awards were held in the magnificent new extension at Belfast’s Waterfront.
More than 500 people filled the enormous Hall 1 at the complex for the Awards, and SmartVideo filmed and edited the summary video published on the Belfast Telegraph website the following morning.
Along the way we met and interviewed many of our top sportsmen and women, along with the stars of yesteryear.
People like Carl Frampton, already a global boxing legend because of his skills, determination and personality, who told SmartVideo how delighted he was to win the overall Award, and also of his determination to win back his world title with a hometown fight this year.
Stars like Northern Ireland manager Michael O’Neill who picked up two awards, telling us he would “cherish them forever”.
Then there was four-time Paralympic gold medallist Bethany Firth, the UK’s most successful Paralympian at the 2016 Games, where she won three golds and a silver medal.
“I feel so honoured to win this award,” she told us.
Snooker legend Dennis Taylor told us: “It’s an absolute pleasure and a delight to be here, because the Belfast Telegraph have supported the game of snooker for as long as I’ve been a professional – and I’ll tell you what that’s a good few years.
Olympic gold medallist Dame Mary Peters said: “It’s amazing, I’ve never seen such a big crowd of well-known sports people gathered together in one room, it’s great.”
The room was teeming with big names, including Mickey Harte, Pat Jennings, Nigel Carr, and Joe Swail to name but a few.
The awards were an unqualified success, with the complete list of winners in order of presentation being:
Jim Gracey, Group Sports Editor at the Belfast Telegraph, paid tribute to all the winners and finalists, saying: “The Sports Awards was a truly uplifting night as we paid tribute to some of the most talented and dedicated in local sport.”
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