UK Sport has announced the 2023 PLx Award winners, recognising outstanding achievements and contributions from across the high-performance sports community over the last 12 months.
The annual coming together of the high-performance community took place in Stratford-upon-Avon on 28 November, where seven award winners from the elite high-performance sector across Olympic and Paralympic sport were celebrated by their peers.
Among the winners is Skeleton world champion Matt Weston, claiming the Athlete Breakthrough Award after making history becoming the first British male to claim the world title whilst spearheading the most successful season for GB on the ice.
The GB Cycling Women’s Track Sprint Team, including Emma Finucane, Sophie Capewell, Katy Nicholls and Lauren Bell, claimed the Collaboration and Teamwork Award after a hugely successful year on the track ranking third in the world and claiming silver at the World and Europeans.
VI Judoka Daniel Powell claimed the Social Impact Award as recognition for his commitment to making combat sport more accessible through his charity, GNR8 Academy.
There were also awards in recognition of projects driving innovation across the sector, vital support staff as well as collaboration at the annual awards.
Former Olympic rower Caragh McMurtry won the Innovation Award alongside the UK Sports Institute Mental Health Team for her work in making sure sporting environments become more neuro-inclusive.
GB Snowsport Head Coach Pat Sharples has overseen a remarkable turnaround in the last year, and as a result, was named winner of the Coach Award after GB delivered record podium placings.
Recognising the vital work behind the scenes, Performance Lifestyle Coach Emma Mitchell has won the Support Staff Award for her work with GB and England Hockey’s athletes.
The final award of the night, the prestigious Spirit of High-Performance Award went to VI Judokas Chris Skelley and Jack Hodgson following impressive success throughout their careers in which they have both displayed powerfully positive values, harnessing the true power and connection of sport.
The award was given in recognition of their partnership, friendship, and support despite the challenges faced throughout the current Paralympic cycle competing for a spot in the same weight category.
The PLx Awards 2023, powered by The National Lottery, is a celebration of the outstanding achievements of those who continue to contribute to making extraordinary sporting moments happen.
The Awards are part of PLx, the annual conference for leaders from the high-performance community to connect, collaborate and learn.
Dame Katherine Grainger, Chair of UK Sport said: Dame Katherine Grainger, Chair of UK Sport said: “What year of fantastic performances from incredible individuals.
I’d like to thank, and congratulate, every nominee, every winner, as well as the amazing array of people who played a role in helping to create these special moments.
With the Olympic and Paralympic Games just around the corner, the past year has been crucial for all sports heading into Paris 2024 and for those on the journey to Milan 2026, a very busy one too.
It can be too easy to keep moving forward with the increasing momentum, so it’s important that we take the time to pause, to recognise and celebrate.
“It has been another inspiring sporting year with world-class events taking place in the UK and world-leading performances on show from British athletes. Much of this has been made possible thanks to the support of The National Lottery.
We’ve also seen a positive change in putting social impact and sustainability at the heart of sporting operations and activity. As ever there is so much to celebrate and also to look forward to.”
The full list of winners is:
Athlete Breakthrough Award
This award recognises the athlete who has had the biggest performance turnaround or breakthrough in the last year.
- Matt Weston – Skeleton
This award recognises a current coach who has challenged themselves to achieve exceptional and inspiring performances in the last year.
- Pat Sharples – GB Snowsport
Support Staff Award
This award recognises the member of staff, from any specialism or role, who has challenged themselves to achieve exceptional and inspiring performances in the last year.
- Emma Mitchell – England and Great Britain Hockey
This award recognises and celebrates an original innovation that has had a significant impact on a high-performance sport in the last year.
- Caragh McMurtry, Neurodiverse Sport and the UK Sports Institute Mental Health Team
Collaboration and Teamwork Award
This award recognises a team that has collaborated or worked together to deliver a significant impact, improving high performance in their field.
- Women’s Track Sprint team – GB Cycling Team
Social impact and/or Sustainability Award
This award recognises a sport, member of staff or athlete who has harnessed the power of their platform to contribute towards societal change.
- Daniel Powel – VI Judo
The Spirit of High-Performance Award
This award recognises a sport, member of staff, athlete or team that has risen to a challenge and done so in a way that embodies, what you interpret to be ‘the spirit of high performance.’
- Chris Skelley & Jack Hodgson – VI Judo
To find out more, visit www.uksport.gov.uk