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Winner - Outstanding Contribution

We are delighted to announce that, as in 2020, we have seven winners of the 2021 Award for Outstanding Contribution to Sport. 


The seven winners remarkably have over 50 years of collective experience of Cambridge Sport, through playing, coaching and administrative roles. From jumping in rivers, via podcast production, charity fundraising, training plans and everything in between, find out more about the winners and the impact they have made in their clubs. These seven are a real source of pride for Cambridge Sport.  


For all seven, we have used some of the original nominations, which best demonstrate the impact they have made on their fellow club members.  


Congratulations to all seven winners! 



Alex Russell (Magdalene) 



Alex Russell has been a member of the CUKC for four years and was President of the 2020-21 committee. From Lent 2020, Alex was the best leader the CUKC could have asked for in leading the club through a year of turmoil.  


Alex was dynamic in responding to the changing circumstances, ensuring he stayed on top of government and national body guidance so the club could operate at maximum capacity in line with restrictions. This included Alex taking many classes himself online, outdoors and indoors with procedures, ensuring he led by example to keep the club alive. Within this set of challenges, Alex particularly succeeded in leading the club in encouraging freshers to join the club – this year’s intake makes up 47% of our men’s team and 41% of our women’s team. Alex’s work has ensured long-term success for the club, even after the end of his presidency.  


Whilst doing all of this, Alex had increasing external responsibilities, helping with the coronavirus pandemic through his medical placements. Despite all this effort behind the scenes, and outside of the club, Alex continued to be one of the most regular attendees of training sessions, both online and in-person, in the holidays and in term-time. Alex went above and beyond for both our club and the wider community, whilst still turning up to train and teach with a smile.” 


Danielle B. 




Catherine Richards (Peterhouse) 



Over the past four years, Catherine has voluntarily gone above and beyond the call of duty in service to CUPC while excelling in her academic (PhD in Engineering), professional and other extracurricular pursuits, which recently saw her named Forbes 30 Under 30. She has brought the highest level of enthusiasm, professionalism and integrity to CUPC, and her outstanding contributions will leave a positive legacy for polo as a University sport. 


Catherine has worked tirelessly across CUPC’s operations -- ranging from managing club finances, legal and welfare issues, to sponsorship and alumni relations, to branding and social media, to gathering membership feedback, to encouraging absolute beginners to try polo, welcoming new members to their first lessons as well as the organisation of tournaments and socials – regardless of her committee position at the time -- while enthusiastically nurturing a positive club atmosphere.  


She actively supports a diverse and inclusive community within CUPC, intends to join the international Gay Polo League later this year, and contributes to promotion of LGBTQ+ people in sport having signed CUPC on to the Team Pride Pledge.” 



Georgina Dunkinson (Newnham) 



During her time as Canoe Club president over the past two years, and Secretary the year before, Georgina has absolutely done fantastic things for the club – particularly overseeing the site development project and initiating a club access officer role.  

Georgina has kept the club engaged, involved and enthusiastic throughout such a difficult year and organised a programme of nearly-daily remote activities (social, exercise etc) which have forged new links between our members new and old and was a real motivator for many of us during the lockdowns.  


She is always enthusiastic, ready to help with anything, a friendly face to all our members and an enormous asset to the club.” 


Isobel O. 




Jonathan Vibhishanan (Pembroke) 


Boat Club & Hawks 

Jonathan has made an outstanding contribution to almost every aspect of sport and physical activity at the University. He is a shining example of everything that is good about sport. He is fiercely passionate about spreading the message that being involved in sport is beneficial to a student's physical, mental and social health. 


Jonathan has been instrumental in kick-starting the "Hawks' and Ospreys' Access to Sport" flagship podcast - Hawk Talk. The podcast aims to deconstruct the myths around sport at Cambridge, examine a positive correlation between academic and sporting success, and encourage applications from a diverse population of people (who may have otherwise not considered an application to be possible). 


As part of his HOATS role, Jonathan also organised a Charity Fundraising Strava Race - one of the first Strava races to pop up in Lockdown 1.0. He personally cycled 1011.96km in seven days and significantly contributed to the £2540.50 raised for the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust and Sporting Equals. In November, he then organised the Hawks' Club Movember, growing a questionable amount of stubble but more importantly putting on a virtual talk on Mental Health and Suicide Prevention. 


Overarching this, Jonathan is an outstanding sportsman. Having never rowed before, Jonathan joined Pembroke College Boat Club as a fresher in 2016. He made his way up through the University development system and trialled for the Lightweights in 2017. Unfortunately, at the end of his first term, he was cut from the team. Determined to improve, Jonathan re-trialled in his third year, and successfully earned his Half Blue in the Lightweight Boat race. Jonathan has contributed to University and College rowing at an administrative and competitive level and has been a fantastic asset to CUBC [and previously CULRC]. 

An all-round superstar, Jonathan is a truly outstanding contributor to sport at Cambridge. I feel incredibly lucky to have worked with him on several sporting projects.” 


Holly T.  




Joy Lisney (King’s) 


Athletics, Cricket, Lacrosse … and Cycling & Triathlon

Over her eight years at the University of Cambridge, Joy has been involved in five Blues sports (lacrosse, triathlon, cycling, cricket and athletics) and competed in over 15 Varsity Matches. 

 Joy has also been involved with sport administration/committee, college sport, media and improving the club profile, volunteering and fundraising. 


Behind the scenes, Joy has set up a development programme for new women’s cricketers at the University of Cambridge. The aim of the programme is to engage female cricketers of all levels of experience across the University, keep more students active particularly in Exam Term, future-proof the Women’s Blues XI as more experienced players come through the programme, and strengthen the Wayfarers XI (2nd team).  

Back in Spring 2020, Joy started creating light-hearted multitrack videos of her playing the cello. One of the main highlights was her arrangement of ‘Soul Limbo’ - the theme tune to Test Match Special - which went viral on Twitter and was shared by ex-England captains and commentators. 


[Meanwhile] Joy’s efforts have not been limited to CUCC. She is currently the Competitions Secretary for CU Athletics Club (CUAC) and helps run Athletics Cuppers. Both roles are key to keeping CUAC running at the University and making sure that athletes of all abilities can compete at an appropriate level. 


Joy has created a truly supportive sporting environment that players are proud to be a part of. She has led by example in all areas and has passed on her knowledge to younger students so that they can continue to play and enjoy sport here. This will really be her lasting contribution to sport and physical activity at the University of Cambridge. A legacy I hope she is as proud of as I am!”. 


Holly T. 


Joy has been a key player to so many sports throughout her time in Cambridge. She has represented the University in multiple Varsities, including Athletics, Cricket, Lacrosse and Cycling. 

She has put in a huge amount of work to ensure the team stayed active throughout lockdown and invented creative challenges to keep people engaged. 


As an athlete, a captain and a teammate, she has shown us all what it truly means to be a light blue.” 


Lea W. 




Richard Poole  



“Sensei Richard Poole has been the chief instructor of the CUKC since 2003. Under Richard’s coaching, the CUKC have won every Varsity match since 2007 and continues to dominate other competitions. In this year alone, CUKC members were selected to attend both the European and World Championships. Richard is one of the highest ranked senseis in the country, previously having been the Welsh national coach, and the CUKC is privileged to be able to benefit from his coaching. 

Richard coaches the CUKC twice a week despite living over an hour and a half away and having a full-time job as a teacher. Richard ensures to go above and beyond before every competition: attending mid-week student-led sessions and turning up to competitions to calm and coach CUKC competitors on the tatami.  

During the first national lockdown, Richard continued to engage virtually with the club, keeping members interested and engaged. Richard filmed a range of kata - different sequences of movements - and uploaded this to the CUKC website and YouTube so CUKC members could use these videos for reference and continue to train themselves. On top of this, Richard was very enthusiastic in engaging with the fun side of the club - he even ‘fell’ into a muddy river in a pristine white gi - a karate uniform - after being ‘hit’ as part of the club’s virtual ‘fight’.  

Thus, across 13 years of dedicated commitment to the club, Sensei Richard truly has made an outstanding contribution to the club”. 


Danielle B. 




Scott Annett (Robinson) 


Rugby Union 

As Director of Rugby at CURUFC, Scott has worked tirelessly this year attempting to organise, reorganise, and reorganise once more the rugby season to provide both the Blue's and LX's some resemblance of a normal season.  

Scott sits on the board and multiple committees throughout the club, and without the time he puts in none of the matches or events that many of us take for granted would ever be possible.  

Scott has seen the club from both a playing standpoint, and a management and administrative role. He has helped to push forward our 'One Club' ethos as we look to integrate the men's and women's teams as much as possible.  

His support for the Players Committee over the past year has helped us develop into a group that has handled the challenges of COVID whilst also managing to enable training sessions, and hopefully matches, to occur.” 


Tom W.