It was a golden summer for track queen Ellie Edwards, and she has managed to maintain her winning formula by scooping the prestigious MVP Award at the 19th Maccabiah Games.
It was the perfect birthday present for Ellie, who turned 17 earlier this week, as she fought off the challenge of thousands of elite Jewish athletes from across the globe to the title of Most Valuable Participant.
"It means everything to me and makes my Maccabiah experience worthwhile as all my hard work and efforts have paid off," she said.
Edwards, who is from Prestwich, was in explosive form in Israel in July. She won gold in the 200m and bronze medals in both the 100m and 4x100m mixed relay events.
"I am so thrilled and honoured to have been named MVP out of more than 40 European countries. I didn’t even know that I’d been nominated for this honour by Maccabi GB, so when I received the phone call informing me that I had won I was genuinely overwhelmed." The success rounds off an incredible year for Ellie following an 18-month battle against injury. She became the top sprinter at her club, Trafford AC, and then qualified for the English School Athletics finals, where she represented Greater Manchester.
She described her first Maccabiah as an "incredible" experience. "I didn’t think anything could top that, but to have received this great honour out of thousands of talented athletes makes all my cold, gruelling winter training worthwhile.
"It gives me the encouragement to continue for many years to come and see what level I can achieve at my chosen sport."
European Maccabi Confederation Honorary Sports Director Robert Cohen said: "This is an amazing and inspirational achievement for Ellie. We hope that she continues to inspire others for many years to come."
Edwards will receive the prestigious accolade at the Maccabi GB Sports Awards this weekend, where she has made the shortlist for the Junior Sportsperson of the Year accolade.