Royal Navy sports personnel are celebrated at the 2023 Royal Navy Sports Awards

Storyline: Sports

The Ladies Golf team, Clay Target, Rifle, Boxing and Football came out on top at this year’s Royal Navy Sports Awards.

The awards were held at Lords Cricket Ground in London. They saw over 50 citations from across nearly 50 sports associations in the Royal Navy competing for the top spot in 6 different categories. 

Guest speaker, Hon Capt Peter Reed (Rtd), started the night with insight into his journey as an officer in the Royal Navy while winning three Olympic gold medals in rowing at consecutive Olympic Games. 

Lt Cdr James Rogers also shared his experiences at the Invictus Games this year as GB captain, competing in Cycling, Indoor Rowing, Swimming and Wheelchair Basketball. 

The Women’s Golf team took the crown for Team of the Year, presented by the First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir Ben Key. The group became Inter Service Champions for the first time since 2011, demonstrating outstanding professionalism, dogged determination, and golf of the highest quality.

LPT Sophie Colebourn won Sportswoman of the Year after an outstanding year of boxing, claiming victory over the GB number one seed, not once, but twice to become the National Amateur Champion at 66kg. 

For his Rifle performance, accompanying Sophie on the top spot for Sportsman of the Year was SLt Theo Dodds. Theo represented the Royal Navy, UKAF and GB in Rifle shooting throughout 2023 and was instrumental in GB’s victory in the most prestigious Full Bore team match in the southern hemisphere.

Football was arguably the shining star of the evening, winning both Coach of the Year and Young Sportsperson of the Year. Lt Cdr Chris James was recognised for his contributions to football coaching, management, and administration since the mid-1990s. AET Jack Wright was named Young Sportsperson of the Year, having represented the RN at the development level in 6 seasons and winning the Inter Service title on three occasions from 5 tournaments. 

Sports Official of the Year was presented to Sgt Phil Barnes for his contributions to Clay Target Shooting. Phil had an excellent 2023, becoming a multi-disciplined International Official for two governing bodies. 

The nominees for each category were: 

Sgt Andy Hunter, Sport Climbing – Official 
WO2 David McNamara, Football – Official 
Cpl Aaron Hall, Hang and Paragliding – Young Sportsperson
AB Evelyn Merritt, Nordic Skiing and Biathlon – Young Sportsperson 
CSgt Bernie Mabey, Martial Arts – Coach
CPO Dave Pascoe, Rugby Union – Coach
LH Robert Allan, Angling – Sportsman 
CSgt Grant Oseland, Hang and Paragliding – Sportsman
Lt Chelsea Baker, Athletics – Sportswoman 
Lt Danielle Tatton, Gymnastics – Sportswoman