Froch named BBC East Midlands Sports personalty

This is Nottingham4th December, 2009

NOTTINGHAM'S world champion boxer Carl Froch has been crowned BBC East Midlands Sports Personality of the Year for 2009.

The WBC Super Middleweight twice defended the coveted title this year, first by stopping American Jermain Taylor in his own country and then Andre Dirrell at the Trent FM Arena.

The announcement was made at the BBC East Midlands Sports Awards in a ceremony last night, celebrating another fantastic year for East Midlands sport.

In a message from Cuba where he has been attending his brother's wedding, Froch said: "This has been a fantastic last 12 months, winning and twice defending the world title. It's been tough but great."

He added: "A big thanks to all the fans out there who have voted for me and for all their support. I really appreciate it."

Nottinghamshire athlete Richard Whitehead was named Disabled Sportsperson of the Year.

Whitehead smashed the marathon world record for leg amputees.

English champion gymnast, Sam Oldham of Keyworth, collected the Junior Sportsperson of the Year award.

Nottingham Unity Football project won the BBC Power of Sport Award supported by Sport England.

Young people join Unity from different inner city areas and play football - while also being offered education, training and employment.

The project aims to stamp out postcode rivalry and gang violence. Before each game, the players must attend a workshop on subjects such as knife crime and drug awareness. Unity was set up in 2005 by Morris Samuels.

The Enterprise in Sport Award was presented to Abacus Sports Lighting of Sutton in Ashfield, Nottinghamshire, for the design and construction of floodlights at Trent Bridge, Lords and The Oval cricket grounds.

Derbyshire's Maddie Thompson is the Junior Disabled Sportsperson of the Year. The 14 year old made her senior debut in 2009 for the GB women wheelchair basketball team. Roger Jones of Clifton Cricket Club in South Derbyshire won the BBC Sports Unsung Hero.

Other winners on the night included Leicester City manager Nigel Pearson, collecting the Football Achievement Award after leading the club to the League One title and guiding them to a play-off position in the Championship at this stage of the season.

Richard Cockerill received the Coach of the Year Award. Since taking over in January he has seen the Leicester Tigers win the Guinness Premiership and finish runners-up in the Heineken Cup.

Leicestershire cricketer James Taylor won the Brian Clough Breakthrough Award after a stunning season in which he scored over 1,000 runs including a double century. Taylor is currently with the England development squad in South Africa, but sent a message of thanks to the 1,200 strong audience at Loughborough University on Thursday night, on receipt of his award.

Leicestershire's Lee Penfold took the Judges' Special Award for his work promoting the Special Olympics 2009.

Loughborough University Swimming Club was named Team of the Year after an outstanding 2009 and Brendan Foster paid tribute to athletics coach George Gandy who won the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Mark Shardlow, Sports Editor of BBC East Midlands Today said: "It has been a terrific year for sport across the East Midlands. It was great to see so many champions and winners in one room."