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Sports Awards 2022 - Unsung Hero Shortlist

The Unsung Hero award recognises the individuals who do all the work in the background to make things happen, keep the club activities going and take the club to the next level. Often, these individuals go beyond the call of duty to improve clubs, solve problems, and create an all-round good environment in which club members can thrive. 

Got your tickets for the big event yet? Reserve them for free, and join us to see who is crowned Unsung Hero at the Sports Awards Ceremony on Monday 20th June.

Here's more about each of our fantastic nominees: 


Callum Henderson (Trinity Hall) - Yacht

Commodore of CUYC, Callum has a big job his hands which roughly equates to that of a Club President in other sports clubs. In addition to that, Callum takes on the role of Bosun, with responsibility for overseeing the maintenance of the club yacht, Skylark, which is essential to all club operations.  

“Yacht maintenance really is a thankless and never-ending task: you spend hours crammed into tiny spaces attempting seemingly impossible fixes, or with your head stuck in the engine bay covered in oil, or giving up whole weekends to clean and paint 40ft worth of boat. He is giving up 11 weeks of his summer holiday to skipper SP trips due to a general dearth of/reluctance from skippers in the Club, thus enabling all other Club members to be able to enjoy their sailing experiences with CUYC. He is an asset to CUYC, and we as a Club are truly indebted to all of his hard work.” 


Charlie McLean (Fitzwilliam) - Squash

In a year of substantial changes for the Squash Club, Charlie took on the President role halfway through the year, overseeing the delivery of varsity, organising coaching, and working with the club committee to ensure sustainability in the years ahead. Having organised a successful college squash league which had struggled in recent years, Charlie set about resolving other club areas too. Partly because of Charlie’s efforts, the Men’s team are set to enter BUCS competition next season for the first time in ten years. 

“Charlie has been an absolute asset to CUSRC in a tumultuous year. He was the glue that held the club together. Charlie was available to anyone's questions or concerns, and if he was unsure about anything, he was quick to contact the relevant parties to find it out. He has truly gone above and beyond to help CUSRC through this year.” 


Ellie O'Keeffe (Emmanuel) - Swimming and Water Polo

Ellie’s tremendous impact on CUSWPC continues into her fourth year of study and second as Captain. Not only has Ellie led on the performance side of the club, setting 10 club records and qualifying for the British Championships, but is also passionate about club development and the wellbeing of club members.  

“Ellie is an amazing to friend to every single person on our squad, making time for all of us, ensuring we're doing okay, and pushing us to be the best athletes we can be. 

Ellie writes the sets for and coaches the Development squad, creates session plans for us to complete on our own, meets up with each swimmer individually to see how they are and how they're getting on, and even organised a Charity event to raise money to raise money for Save the Children and the Ukraine Crisis.” 


Qasim Alli (King's) - Mixed Lacrosse

Over the course of the 2021-22 season, Cambridge alumnus Qasim has been Head Coach of the Mixed Lacrosse Club, a year in which the club have scaled new heights and become National Champions, in no small part down to Qasim’s dedication.  

Qasim began his studies at Cambridge in 2014, playing Lacrosse for four years before moving away for work, where he founded his own Mixed Lacrosse team, and returning to Cambridge to coach in 2020, becoming Head Coach of CUMLC in 2021.  

“Qasim’s training plans were extensive, detailed, and extremely organised. Additionally, Qasim’s training was creative and flexible, meeting the needs of the diverse abilities of athletes in the club, somehow nurturing beginners whilst simultaneously stretching the more senior players. 

Following our Varsity victory, Qasim helped the club focus on the National Championships. He ran our subs bench impeccably and gave insightful pointers to keep the team on target, whilst allowing all members of the team to focus on the game and challenge in front of them. For us, the National Championships were perhaps the pinnacle of Qasim’s coaching and management; despite being new to managing teams he flawlessly coached CUMLC’s blues to a convincing match that really was a team victory. While there were some standout performances, Qasim’s coaching over the year meant that the whole team played very strongly as a unit, as a team instead of individuals as has often been the case for mixed lacrosse in the past. He is taking this format of lacrosse to new heights.” 


Thomas Adams (Fitzwilliam) - Swimming and Water Polo

Having also been shortlisted for the Unsung Hero award in 2021, Thomas has been going above and beyond with CUSWPC for several years now. As he approaches the end of his four years of study at Cambridge, his absence next year will surely be felt by the club. His experience has been invaluable to the club as they recover from the impact of the pandemic 

“Despite being the only committee member holding three positions Tom has given a boundless amount of time and commitment to helping others with their positions. Without Tom’s unwavering dedication to ensuring every one of us had the support we needed, anything from pool-booking advice or best practice for AGM organisation to coaching tips, we would’ve undoubtably struggled this year. His impeccable organisation and tenacious reminders to every committee member have ensured we all stayed on track. Repeatedly he has sacrificed personal and academic commitments to help others, something which I think we all have taken for granted. 

I cannot think of an individual that has been more pivotal in the success of CUSWPC, both in the pool and out, throughout my entire time at Cambridge.” 

Thomas pictures centre front row with right hand raised.