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London 2012 Olympics gold medal winner Anthony Joshua praises sporting talent at Medway Sports Awards

By Matthew Panting

Olympic gold medallist Anthony Joshua has heaped praise on the sporting talent in Medway.

The 23-year-old boxer won gold at London 2012, just five years after taking up the sport, and was a special guest to see sporting excellence recognised in Medway on Friday, December 7 2012.

Joshua was the star attraction but he left dazzled by Medway’s own sporting talents after an evening of celebration at the Corn Exchange in Rochester.

“The amount of work that people have put in has been amazing and it’s great to see them recognised,” said Joshua.

“I believe 100% that the Olympics will inspire people and being here has inspired me by seeing these people at grassroots level – everyone was an inspiration.

“I’ve never been to an event like this before but it’s been great to see the talent coming through. This is just the beginning for so many people.”

Danny Crates with 2012 Olympic gold medal winner Anthony Joshua. Picture Darren Small

Danny Crates with 2012 Olympic gold medal winner Anthony Joshua. Picture: Darren Small

Star of the show as far as the awards were concerned was another Olympian, Kat Driscoll, who was named sportsperson of the year after a terrific two years which culminated in missing out on the Olympic final by 0.01 of a mark.

Earlier in the year she became the first lady to simultaneously hold the national titles for individual, synchronised and double mini trampoline.

“It’s a great way to cap off the year,” beamed Driscoll, who is now based in the North East but started her career at Jumpers Rebound Centre. “I’ll never forget where I’ve come from and it’s nice to be recognised.

“It started at Jumpers and I had great support during the summer from the Medway Towns. The Medway Messenger were fantastic in covering me and people sent emails and messages of support which was really nice.

“It proves that anyone can do it. I started off in a local leisure centre and it proves you don’t have to be elite to get to the Olympics.”

Driscoll found the evening equally humbling, the grounded 26-year-old still finding time to offer words of encouragement to others while glowing in the glory of her own success.

“I remember when I was young and saw my idols walk past me,” said Driscoll. “There was a young girl (Natasha Woodall) I remembered who came third so I asked her how she was going and offered her encouragement – people don’t realise how much a difference that can make.”

The awards in association with University of Medway, which were expertly presented by three-time Olympian Steve Backley and Paralympics star Danny Crates, were organised by Medway Council and they were made possible by the people and organisations that support it each year.

The council’s key partners for the 2012 awards and the evening were University of Medway, Medway Messenger, Questor Insurance, Greenacre Sports Partnership, Bridgewood Manor Hotel and Medway Leisure. The Medway Messenger were media partner for the awards.

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