What a good sport

Joe of the Rovers completes dream season by being named the Personality of the Year

Joe Jacobson was this week recognised as the community’s top sportsperson by winning the Maccabi GB Sports Personality of the Year.

The Wales Under 21 and Bristol Rovers left-back won the Pentland senior award, seeing off the challenge off Dagenham & Redbridge star Sam Sloma, Maccabi Herzliya’s Josh Kennet, blind England cricketer Daniel Field, handball player Daniel Grant and karate prospect Jenna Shilston.

The former Cardiff City player arrived at the sports awards and gala ceremony, held in partnership with UJIA in Islington, North London, after watching his home town team reach the final of the FA Cup with victory over Barnsley at Wembley.

“It is a great honour,” commented Jacobson, “I hope to push on over the next 12 months and help Bristol Rovers clinch promotion and break into the senior national squad.”

The first British Jew to play in the Football League for 25 years, Jacobson has made 12 appearances for the Welsh Under 21s and hopes to earn a call-up for the senior squad’s summer tour.

Jacobson, 21, who was presented with a cheque for £1,000, said: “I never thought that I would win this award.

“To be recognised is one of the highlights of my career, especially when you bear in mind that I am involved in a team sport. Hopefully I can now move on to bigger and better things.”

Having helped Rovers reach the quarter-finals of the FA Cup, his next goal is to play in the Premier League and to help Wales reach the finals of the Under 21 Championship. He added: “To play in the World Cup for Wales would be unbelievable.”

Triathlete Lara Nyman won the JC Young Sportsperson of the Year.

She took the award ahead of gymnast Megan Bell, fencer Amy Hyman, golfer Marc Kuber, judo player Megan Moore, sailor Josh Pistol and table tennis player Zak Zilesnick.

The 15-year-old has enjoyed a fine year, winning the British National Youth Duathlon Championship, silver in the British Youth Triathlon Championships and two bronze medals in the Michelob ULTRA London Youth Super Sprint.

Based in Hatch End, Middlesex, she is also in the top 20 national swimming rankings for 200 metre freestyle and medley. And, as a runner, she is ranked 16 in the UK in the steeplechase and is a Middlesex County 1,500 metre silver medallist.

“I am absolutely gobsmacked,” Nyman said.

“I was so surprised that I received this award ahead of all the other people in my category. It is my aim to go on and try and claim a top three finish in the Open Water Swimming Championships.”

Lord Janner, boxers Roman Greenberg and Laura Saperstein were among the special guests as the community’s leading sports charity celebrated its 70th anniversary.

A documentary of its history, Living Flame – Our Future in Your Hands, was screened at the event.

    Last updated: 11:16am, April 11 2008