Isle of Man Sports Awards: Cavendish and Donnelly take top honours


Cycling history maker Mark Cavendish and gymnastic star Tara Donnelly have been crowned Isle of Man Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year at a ceremony in Douglas.

The ‘Manx Missile’ rolled back the years in 2021 to claim four stage victories at the Tour de France and equal Eddy Merckx’s long-standing record of 34 wins.Tara Donnelly claimed European, British and Manx titles on the floor and vault in 2021.

FC Isle of Man, who are currently vying for top spot in the North West Counties league, were named ‘Ambassadors of the Year’ after a terrific debut season. Their performances and attitude have gained them a huge fan base and their story has gained national coverage on programmes such as BBC Football Focus.

Manx Rams claimed the ‘Team of the Year’ award thanks to their international success, which included a silver medal at the Europe Netball Open Challenge in Gibraltar. Captain, Ashley Hall, who was voted player of the tournament, had even more to celebrate after she was also named ‘Coach of the Year’ for leading the U21s to their first European Championship which was held on home soil.

Football star Sean Jackson, whose performances for Manchester City’s Amputee football team, saw him selected for England at the European Championships in Poland, scooped the ‘Disability Sportsperson of the Year’ award for a second time. 

In total, 14 awards were handed out at the ceremony including the ‘Leonie Cooil Courage & Inspiration Award’ which went to Andrew Baker after he completed a gruelling 4,600 mile solo row across the Atlantic Ocean in 2021 raising money for local charities.

Colin Brown, who is heavily involved in tennis, football, cricket, table tennis and badminton was presented with a ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’. As well as playing to a high level in many sports he has dedicated himself to refereeing, coaching and fund raising, so others could enjoy them too.

The other winners on the night were:
Under 21 Sportsman of the year: Tyler Hannay (Cycling)Under 21 Sportswoman of the year: Kaytlyn Adshead (Motorcycle Trials)Sports Administrator of the Year: Linda Alton-Heath (Circuit racing)Veteran Sportsperson of the Year: Martin Freestone (Rallying)Sports Leader of the Year: Millie Corlett

Julie Edge MHK, Minister for Education, Sport and Culture, said: ‘It was fantastic to celebrate the achievements of the Island’s outstanding stars and the people that work so hard to help them to fulfil their potential.’

Sarah Corlett, Executive Chairman of Isle of Man Sport said: ‘As always, we have seen incredible achievements from our athletes, coaches, administrators, volunteers and those who help within Manx sport. All of the winners thoroughly deserve their awards and demonstrate what dedication, hard work and commitment can achieve.’

The ceremony also included a guest appearance from former Olympic gold medallist Amy Williams MBE and more than 50 athletes receive Sport Aid and Isle of Man Sport support for the year ahead.
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