Sports stars support mental health at Newark and Sherwood Sports Awards — hosted by Radio Newark
A night of celebrations took an emotional turn as the district’s sporting stars showed their support for those battling health issues.
The annual Newark and Sherwood Sports Awards — again hosted by Radio Newark over three nights in Ollerton, Southwell and Newark — took an inspiring turn on the final evening when James Brincat-Smith took to the stage at Newark Rugby Club.
The 44-year-old powerlifter was presented with senior sportsperson of the year for his efforts over the last 12 months, which saw him claim a British title and pick up three bronze medals across world and European championship tournaments.
He put his success down to his team, sponsors and family, and stressed the importance that sport has had on his mental wellbeing.
“I took up sport after leaving the Army 12 years ago,” said Brincat-Smith.
“I really struggled mentally with the rehabilitation of being a civilian and I had some very low points.
“I said to myself I have to sort myself out and I went to the gym. It really helped me.
“It has helped me through some very low points, and, with going to the gym, I have got a new lifting family that has replaced the Army family that I lost.
“But, more importantly, mental health is a very serious issue and to anybody who is struggling, there is a better world out there.
“You just need to find it for yourself and try and talk to somebody.
“People are there to help you.”
Newark’s Notts AAA county championships category winner Peter Davis, who finished runner-up to Brincat-Smith in the awards, echoed his comments on stage.
The Newark Striders runner said: “We regularly organise running with people who have mental health issues. It is done through England Athletics so it is a national-wide initiative.”
Dean Sugden, head coach at Suggy’s Gym and Newark Amaetur Boxing Club, was the 16th name to be added to the role of honour on the night for his contributions to the community.
He also shared his passion for helping combat mental health through sport.
“I’m a big advocate of people doing physical activity to help with mental health,” said the former world champion kickboxer.
“There is a thing called endorphins which creates peroxides and that creates a happy drug called serotonin. That is the most powerful drug in the world.
“I am such anti-drugs and smoking. Exercise is great adrenaline rush and people can get so much joy from it.
“Join a club, whether it be football, rugby, cricket, tennis or if you want to do a bit of kick-boxing or boxing, we welcome everybody.
“It is not just about the [big] fighters, it is about lots of people taking part.
“I get such a big buzz from seeing people achieve greatness and greatness doesn’t always come in the form of a title or a trophy, it comes from taking part and changing as an individual.
“We have seen a lot of kids change and become better kids by coming through Suggy’s Gym and Newark Amateur Boxing club.
“That is what I’m passionate about.”
MORE FROM THE SPORTS AWARDS:
- Results of Newark and Sherwood Sports Awards in full
- Adventure Activities for All Abilities (4A's) take club of the year award
- Development the goal says coaches at sports awards
- Sugden added to roll of honour