Swimming star Steph scoops Sky award

Civic reception for Commonwealth 2014 medal winners Scott Fitzgerald and Stephanie Slater at the Harris Museum & Art Gallery.

Civic reception for Commonwealth 2014 medal winners Scott Fitzgerald and Stephanie Slater at the Harris Museum & Art Gallery.

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Swimmer Stephanie Slater has been named Disability Sportswoman of the Year.

The 23-year-old was voted winner in the Sunday Times and Sky Sports awards, held last night in London.

Preston star Steph was training in Rio de Janeiro so was unable to attend the star-studded awards ceremony.

She fought back tears when told she had won, saying: “I feel so honoured to have won this award, especially given the quality of the other sportswomen in the running.

“I’m totally blown away by this. It must have been such a hard task for them to narrow the field down.

“I want to say a massive well done to the other sportswomen in this category.

“They have all achieved so much this year.”

Steph started out as an able-bodied swimmer, and was training for the Delhi Commonwealth Games in 2010 when severe nerve damage lead to her losing the use of her left arm.

She missed out on the London Olympics but won silver in the 100m freestyle event at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, then went on to scoop an astonishing seven gold medals in the European Championships. She also set a European record in the 50m freestyle.

The awards organisers described her as “the star of the European championships” who put in a “magnificent” performance.

Also nominated were Libby Clegg (athletics), Kelly Gallagher and guide Charlotte Evans (alpine skiing) and Jordanne Whiley (wheelchair tennis).