Tommy Green, Geoff Capes, John Regis, Aston Moore, Jessica Ennis-Hill, Peter Matthews and Katharine Merry all honoured at celebration in Coventry

Seven greats from the world of athletics were inducted into the England Athletics Hall of Fame during the annual awards dinner at Coventry’s Ricoh Arena in what was a real celebration of the sport.

Tommy Green, Geoff Capes, John Regis, Aston Moore, Jessica Ennis-Hill, Peter Matthews and Katharine Merry (pictured) were all honoured on a night which also recognised the huge contribution made by volunteers by way of the National Volunteer Awards.

The first inductee of the evening had been Green, the Olympic 50km race walk champion at the 1932 Games – a race he won by seven minutes.

He was represented by his grandchildren Cheryl Hookway and David Coakes, with huge interest being sparked in the room when the medal which Hill had won 86 years ago was produced.

Twice Commonwealth and European shot put champion, not to mention former World’s Strongest Man, Capes was inducted by Stuart Storey, the broadcaster and coach who first identified his athletic talent.

“I have been happy to compete at the very highest level, to have been number in the world and to have made many friends,” said Capes.

Neither former Olympic and world champion heptathlete Ennis-Hill, nor world 4x400m relay gold medallist, world 200m indoor gold medallist and British 200m record-holder Regis were able to be present at the event but both had recorded video messages expressing their gratitude at their inductions.

Double Commonwealth bronze medal-winning triple jumper Moore, now a highly successful coach, was inducted by Ashia Hansen, the athlete he guided to world indoor, Commonwealth and European titles at the discipline, and European silver medallist Nathan Douglas.

“A lot of people think that coaches go around wanting to be as famous as the athletes. Most of the time coaches are just relieved when the athlete does well, to finally see it come together is very, very satisfying,” said Moore.

The work of renowned statistician, commentator, author and editor Matthews, who still contributes regularly to Athletics Weekly, was also recognised.

He admitted to being somewhat taken aback by the honour.

“It’s amazing and humbling to be honoured as I’m a fan,” he said. “It is a privilege to be involved in athletics. I still retain a passion for watching it at all levels.”

The final inductee of the evening was Merry, who has hosted the awards evening and Hall of Fame dinner for the past 11 years.

The former sprinter, 2000 Olympic 400m bronze medallist, who has now built an athletics broadcasting career, went from presenter to inductee and rounded off a rather emotional event by saying: “Athletics is my life. I love my sport. I love everything about it. It’s a pleasure to be involved in it.”

The first awards of the evening went to young athletes, with Laviai Nielsen, Niamh Emerson and Sam Bennett receiving the U23, U20 and U18 Ron Pickering Memorial Fund Athlete of the Year honours respectively.

Max Burgin and Keely Hodgkinson received the Dave Cropper Award for Male and Female 800m Athlete 2018, while former 1500m Commonwealth Games bronze medallist turned coach Helen Clitheroe was the recipient of the David Sunderland Memorial Bursary.

 

The following National Volunteer Awards were made:

Spirit of 2012 Award: Bracknell AC Game Changers

Inclusion Award: Adam Thomas

Athletics or Running Club of the Year: Orion Harriers

Coach of the Year: Janice Kaufman

RunTogether Leader of the Year: Danielle Guy

Volunteer of the Year: Lawrence Wade

Young Volunteer of the Year: Rebecca Pickard

Official of the Year: Lynne Marr

Services to Athletics or Running: John Howley

Dave Cropper Award

Male 800m Athlete 2018: Max Burgin

Female 800m Athlete 2018: Keely Hodgkinson

Ron Pickering Memorial Fun 2018 Athletes of the Year

U23 Athlete of the Year: Laviai Nielsen

U20 Athlete of the Year: Niamh Emerson

U18 Athlete of the Year: Sam Bennett

David Sunderland Memorial Bursary

Helen Clitheroe