VOTE for the first UK National Lottery Athlete of the Year
Meet the magnificent seven who have been shortlisted to be crowned the first UK National Lottery Athlete of the Year and here's how YOU can help decide the winner.
They all need you votes and you can do it online, by phone or Twitter. Full details and how to vote at lotterygoodcauses.org.uk/awards.
But hurry. Voting closes at midnight on Friday, September 14.
The public vote will decide which athlete is crowned champion and receive a £5,000 cash prize to award to a National Lottery funded project of their choice. The victorious athlete will also receive an iconic National Lottery Awards trophy and attend a star-studded glitzy awards ceremony to be broadcast on BBC One on September 26, 2018.
The finalists - in alphabetical order - are:
Katie Archibald, aged 24, from Milngavie, Greater Glasgow, is already a multiple World and European cycling champion, in both individual and team events. In 2018, Katie brought home three Commonwealth Games medals. She has inspired many people to race, as well as simply ride their bikes for pleasure.
Mahama Cho, 28, born in the Ivory Coast he grew up in London and as excelled at Taekwondo, winning silver at the 2017 World Taekwondo Championships. Off the mat, Mahama spends time visiting local schools - a keen advocate for anti-bullying, he speaks of his experience adapting to life in the UK at the age of 8.
Alex Danson, 33, from Southampton, is the GB women’s hockey captain and the epitome of a team player; always the first to acknowledge the athletes around her. With her hockey team, Alex won Commonwealth bronze in 2018 and Olympic gold in Rio 2016. Outside of competition she encourages youngsters to take up hockey and has started her own academy.
Menna Fitzpatrick, 20, from Macclesfield, and her guide Jen Kehoe, 34, from Staffordshire, are Great Britain's most successful winter Paralympians this year. Despite having only five per cent of her vision, Menna and Jen won four medals in alpine skiing at the winter Paralympic Games. Outside of competition they encourage people to get into paraskiing.
Duncan Scott, at just 20, is already a multi medal winning athlete. Hailing from Glasgow, he brought home six swimming medals from this year's Commonwealth Games making him the most successful Scot ever at a single games.
Emma Wiggs, 38, from London, a two-time Paralympian and six-time world champion has represented Great Britain in both Sitting Volleyball and Canoeing. Emma won gold in Paracanoeing at the Paralympic Games in Rio 2016. Outside of competition,she is an advocate for anti-doping and has been awarded an MBE for Services to Canoeing.
Lizzy Yarnold, 31, born in Sevenoaks, Kent, living in Portsmouth, cemented her place in sporting history after winning every major title in her sport of Skeleton in just 407 days. Since her Olympic wins, Lizzy has visited schools encouraging young girls take part in sport and feel good about their body image.
VOTE NOW: Voting is simple - you can do it online, by phone or Twitter - visit lotterygoodcauses.org.uk/awards.
Online you will find full details about each athlete. Pick your favourite and click on the voting button on their page, call their phone line vote number or tweet their unique hashtag on Twitter.
Remember, voting closes at midnight on Friday, September 14.
The Athlete of the Year category is a brand new addition to The National Lottery Awards which also celebrate Lottery-funded projects. Thanks to National Lottery players, £30 million is raised each week for good causes in the UK.
The new sporting award is a golden opportunity to celebrate the remarkable achievements of the UK’s world class National Lottery funded athletes, whilst demonstrating the impact National Lottery players have on elite sport.
Since National Lottery funding for Olympic and Paralympic sport started, in 1997, British athletes have won an incredible 860 medals.
The shortlisted athletes beat off stiff competition from a long list of 120 other worthy contenders to reach the public voting stage.
They were selected by a judging panel for their sporting achievements, passion for their sport and ability to inspire others.
UK Sport Chair and Olympic Rowing Gold medallist, Dame Katherine Grainger, said: “National Lottery funding enables athletes to train full time, access to some of the best coaching and facilities in the world and realise their dreams.
"These athletes are not only sporting heroes, but role models who encourage people of all ages and abilities to actively pursue their passions. Please get voting and show your support for these inspirational athletes who have reached the finals of this year’s National Lottery Awards.”
Tracey Crouch, Minister for Sport and Civil Society, said: "For more than twenty years, National Lottery funding has helped support the successful careers of our sporting heroes - past and present, providing world-class training that has taken them to medal podiums across the globe.
"I want to thank National Lottery players for supporting our elite athletes, who continue to inspire the nation. I urge everyone to get out there and vote for their favourite."
To vote for your favourites remember to visit lotterygoodcauses.org.uk/awards