Sports Awards 2012: Taking pride in Leicestershire's triumphs in glorious year
Former Leicester City and Leicestershire County Cricket Club idol Graham Cross became the inaugural recipient of the lifetime achievement trophy at last year's Leicester Mercury Sports Awards.
A new name will go on the trophy when the 2012 awards winners are revealed at Welford Road on Thursday – and there is a new backer for the award, too – Uptonsteel, of Markfield.
"It has always been important to us at Uptonsteel to contribute to the region and the community," said director James Upton.
"The Mercury Sports Awards provide an opportunity for us to be involved in a celebration of the best sporting talent that Leicestershire has to offer.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Wednesday, May 22 2013
"We feel the lifetime achievement award is a very prestigious accolade and we are extremely proud to sponsor it."
Mr Upton looked back on what he described as a "glorious" year of sport in 2012, with the London Olympics and Paralympics standing tall above a series of outstanding sporting moments.
"Clearly, 2012 was an incredible year for celebrating sport, possibly the greatest ever," he said.
"There were so many successes that it's hard to remember them all.
"Chelsea's Champions League success, Rory McIlroy's PGA Championship win, Bradley Wiggins's Tour de France triumph, Andy Murray's US Open victory, Europe's Ryder Cup comeback and the England cricketers' series win in India would all be considered remarkable in any given year.
"However, as fantastic as they all were, I cannot see how the London Games will ever be bettered.
"For six-and-a-half weeks the British people were at one in their pride for the nation.
"Sure, we wanted to see British winners and we joined in euphoric celebration whenever Team GB delivered, but we were also concerned with journeys rather than destinations, contests rather than simply results, as evidenced by unprecedented attendances and support at qualification stages.
"Civilised patriotism reigned and it was glorious.
"As for my local highlights, Leicester being one of the few cities to host the Olympic torch overnight was special, as was Leicester Ladies Hockey Club winning both the indoor and national championships. Congratulations to The Pukkas."
Looking ahead to a year that is already getting into gear, Mr Upton said: "I know this is where I'm supposed to be tactful and just wish all of our county's teams, sportsmen and sportswomen well – and I do, genuinely.
"I always feel a sense of pride in our county's achievements.
"However, diplomacy isn't really my thing so I will be rooting for (in particular) Leicester City being promoted to the Premier League, Leicester Tigers taking an Aviva Premiership and Heineken Cup double, Coalville Town romping to the Northern Premier Division One South title and Rothley Park Cricket Club challenging at the top of Everards Division One."