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Sports Awards 2024 - Outstanding Contribution Shortlist

This award for Outstanding Contribution is for individuals who have made contributions over an extended period of time, in all areas of sport and physical activity. 

The eight individuals shortlisted will all be recognised as award winners, the awarding panel agreeing all eight shortlistees have truly gone above and beyond in support of their sport and club during their time at Cambridge.   

Here's more about each of our nominees: 


1. Arden Dierker Viik, Association Football Club  

Arden is CUAFC's longest-serving student member (to my knowledge). She played her first game for CUAFC 10 years ago and since then has started all but her first two games. She has always been a crucial part of the club, coming to games after exams, GP placements, and long days at Addenbrookes.  

Taking on many committee roles during her time at Cambridge I can confidently say the club is better for having Arden in it. After leaving the pitch with a broken collarbone in last year's Varsity game we are so glad to have celebrated a Varsity clean sheet with Arden, as she is so integral to the success of the Blues. This club legend will be a big miss and she deserves recognition for her service to CUAFC and sport in Cambridge! 


2. Iain Davies, Hare & Hounds  

For many of us within CUH&H, it is hard to imagine a club without Iain Davies. When he started out eight years ago, he was rightly recognised as a real talent on the track and it was no surprise that he was quickly a big part of the club’s culture. Over the years, he took on multiple committee positions – none of which he did by halves; seeing us all travel up to Pitlochry to contest a Highland Games or fly over to Oslo to spectate the Diamond league.  

In his time as Captain, Iain made the club a more inclusive place – particularly through the way in which he championed women’s running. His efforts saw the club secure the first BUCS medal on the women’s side in 18 years; a victory which has left a legacy of continued high performance. During the pandemic, he kept the club afloat both financially (through organising a number of successful fundraising events) and socially (putting an enormous effort into making new members feel welcome and old ones stay connected). Beyond the committee, he has been a driving force in organising social events: ranging from club-wide ceilidhs to Thanksgiving dinners to summer parties that rival May Balls.  

Perhaps what is most impressive about Iain’s contribution to CUH&H however is that for most of the time he has been part of the club, he has been injured. For many people, not being able to participate in the club’s key function would see them drift away, yet Iain’s enthusiasm for CUH&H has never dwindled. At every important race, Iain is a spectator like no other – chasing us round the course and roaring us into the finish. It seems unlikely that the club would’ve had half the success it has without him as part of it. 


3. Issy Routledge, Cricket Club 

Issy is an outstanding captain. She leads by example, holding down the fort across the batting, bowling, and fielding. She frequently achieves 50 or 100 on the score card and multiple wickets per game.  

Highlights from the last 12 months include; 

  • 188* match winning innings in last year’s 50 over Varsity fixture. 

  •  Hatrick at Lords in this years T20 Varsity match. 

Issy also organises all the players and games for the blues as well as the Wayferers. Acting as a coach throughout the winter training. All while in her incredibly busy final year. 


4. Jinheum Park, Table Tennis Club  

Jinheum has been an integral member of Cambridge University Table Tennis Club since joining us in 2021. He has made outstanding contributions both on and off the table. Throughout his time at Cambridge, Jinheum has consistently represented the University in BUCS league, BUCS individual championships and Varsity matches, whilst also undertaking numerous committee positions including Social Media Officer, club Secretary and, this year, serving as club President. Jinheum is by far the best President the club has seen in recent years. Under his leadership, CUTTC has gone from strength to strength.  

Membership numbers have tripled, and participation has remained high throughout the year in both training sessions and social events, despite the club having previously struggled to maintain numbers towards the end of the academic year. In particular the club has increased its female membership almost fourfold, and for the first time in the club’s history, we fielded a second women’s team in the Varsity match against Oxford. A highlight of the year was hosting the ITTF Foundation World Table Tennis Day 2024 Doubles Tournament which Jinheum organised himself, including collaborating with an external international sponsor who donated over £500.  

Moreover, under Jinheum’s leadership, many players have noted the improved quality of club sessions. We now have 4 weekly sessions, compared to 2 per week in previous years, 3 of which are coached by current nationally ranked and former international players. As a result, the club has attracted and developed a higher standard of players than ever before, which is reflected in our BUCS and Varsity results for the last two seasons, including a silver medal in 2022! Jinheum successfully recruited a new senior treasurer for the club and re-established connections with alumni that had been lost during Covid.  

Furthermore, our club has a stronger presence on social media and a new website. Participation in college league and Cuppers has also increased. Jinheum not only has one of the most consistent training attendances in the club, but is also the backbone of the committee, ensuring smooth changeovers, efficient communication with club members and University Sports staff, and providing helpful support any time of the day.  

Overall, Jinheum has selflessly devoted himself to improving the club, taking countless hours of his own time to create new initiatives and improvements, and has been great both to work and to play with. His presence in CUTTC will be sorely missed as he steps down as President to focus on his final year of his PhD. 


5. Muireann de h-Óra, Australian Rules Football Club 

We would like to nominate Muireann de h-Óra because of her extraordinary efforts to increase the professional viability of the club and pastoral care. During her four years of involvement, she has been Club President twice, coached the Women’s and Non-binary side for 3 years, and captained the Women’s and Non-binary side for 1 year. This year she held all three positions.  

Muireann’s outstanding leadership as president has cemented the professional viability of CUARFC. She constructed and led a committee composed of formal roles including Treasurer, Social Secretary, and Transport Officer to enable better administrative organisaiton of the club. She secured financial stability by facilitating the first ever non-university sponsorship, obtained internal grant funding from Cambridge University, and sought external grant funding. She increased the club’s media presence by redesigning the club’s website, established new social media accounts, and arranged additional promotional material for Varsity matches. She secured the logistical arrangement of all training sessions and matches hosted by the club this year. She finally sought to improve professional recognition and address gender inequality by advocating on six occasions for Half-Blue status of the Women’s and Non-binary team.  

Muireann has demonstrated exceptional pastoral care during her roles this year. She sought to create an environment that is highly welcoming for all players, regardless of racial origin, LGBTQI+ status, or neurodiversity. She facilitated the restructuring of teams from being ‘Male’ or ‘Female’ segregation to being Men+Non-binary or Women+Non-binary to increase LGBTQI+ inclusivity. On two occasions, she successfully advocated against racial discrimination towards her players. She finally fostered strong club collegiality to improve inclusivity through facilitating monthly club social events.  

Muireann has demonstrated extraordinary commitment to improving players’ skills. She independently coached all bi-weekly sessions and games for the Women’s and Non-binary side, and assistant coached all bi-weekly sessions and games for the Men’s and Non-binary side. Muireann arranged additional ‘skills sessions’ for new players, weekly running club to improve fitness and to promote mental health, and hosted pre-game team dinners and arranged post game celebrations to promote team morale. The success of these initiatives is best manifest by the retention of the Women’s+Nonbinary side, where there was an 100% retention rate of players who had never played Australian Rules Football prior to joining CUARFC 

The influence of Muireann’s aforementioned leadership was manifested by extraordinary success of the 2023 season for CUARFC. Under her leadership, the Men and Nonbinary team won the National University premiership for the first time, and won the annual Varsity match against Oxford. This was the first time the club had done both in a singular season. Membership was the highest it had been in the last 10 years (i.e. average training attendance increased from 16 to 30 compared to 2022), with a 92% retention of all players. Consequently, for the first time ever, CUARFC was able to have split sessions for Men and Women. 


6. Simrat Sodhi, Ice Hockey Club 

We would like to nominate Simrat (Sim) Sodhi, of the Cambridge University Ice Hockey Club (CUIHC) Women’s Blues, for the Outstanding Contribution Sports Award. As the club president for the past four years, Sim’s dedication has been unmatched. Sim has kept the club running smoothly, consistently gone above and beyond the call of duty, and done all of this with an enthusiasm and love of hockey and the CUIHC that is infectious to anyone around her. As the club president, she has played a pivotal role in shaping the club's identity and fostering a sense of belonging among its members. 

Sim’s dedication extends beyond the Women’s Blues as she often helps out with the Men’s Blues, helping with logistics, score keeping, and making sure matches run smoothly. She’s been known for her mid-game repairs of the ice rink and for stepping in as a medical personnel when players get injured 

- she really does it all. Every season Sim also spends countless hours and amounts of energy liaising with the ice rink to negotiate for the best practice times for all three teams in the club. One of Sim’s many contributions has been her efforts to create a warm, inclusive, and social atmosphere within the club. By fostering links between the men’s and women’s teams, she has promoted club unity and camaraderie. Additionally, Sim has made significant strides in making the club accessible and suitable for postgraduates, who can often feel out of place in undergraduate-dominated university sports. With members ranging from ages 18 to 40+, Sim has successfully cultivated a diverse and inclusive community within the CUIHC. 

Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, Sim has also navigated the club through uncertain times, ensuring that members remained connected and engaged. Under her guidance, the club has continued to thrive, growing from strength to strength. 

On top of all this, Sim’s most notable achievement and contribution to the club has been spearheading the merger of the Cambridge University Men’s and Women’s Ice Hockey Club into one unified club, the CUIHC (also including the Huskies, the development team). Aside from the huge improvement in administrative burden and organisational and logistical tasks, the merger has led to an unbelievable improvement in club spirit and cohesion. We anticipate the benefits of the merger to significantly outlive Sim’s time as a member of the Women’s Blues and she has had a considerable impact on the future of the CUIHC. Sim's vision and leadership have laid the foundation for a stronger and more unified club, with three official varsity teams and a second development team in the works. 

This is Sim’s last year at Cambridge and as president, and the club really won’t be the same without her! From her tireless dedication to the club, to her enthusiasm and positive energy, we think Sim is an ideal candidate for the Outstanding Contribution award. 


7. Téa Ryan, Dance Competition Team; CUTAZZ   

Téa has competed with the Cambridge University Dance Competition Team (CUDCT) for the past four years and has consistently been a stand-out performer. For example, in the 2023/24 and 2022/23 competition seasons Téa was selected for five of the CUDCT teams (Tap, Street, Jazz, Contemporary and Wildcard); in 2023/24, she was a lead role in the Contemporary, Jazz and Tap pieces, and at the University of Manchester Dance Competition 2024 she was selected by the judges from both the Jazz and Contemporary pieces for consideration to be Dancer of the Day. Her talent is recognised throughout CUDCT and CUTAZZ Dance Society, being voted by members of the society as ‘Most Dedicated/Committed Dancer’ in 2024 and ‘Most Versatile’ in 2023. 

Furthermore, Téa is an extremely talented choreographer; she choreographed the CUDCT Tap piece in 2022/23, and co-choreographed CUDCT’s Wildcard piece in 2023/24, both of which received first place at GHGH University Dance Championships in their respective years. As a choreographer, she provides the support needed for her dancers to achieve their best, creating challenging and innovative work. She works above and beyond to maintain the high standard of CUDCT, for instance filming videos of herself dancing to guide her dancers’ practice and writing personal feedback for each dancer to help them improve. 

The respect that Téa has garnered is reflected in her having been elected into the CUTAZZ committee in 2022/23 as Social Secretary, and as CUDCT co-captain in 2023/24 and 2024/25. As Social Secretary she delivered fun and inclusive socials to encourage a sense of community with CUTAZZ. As co-captain in 2023/24, she was the heart and soul of the team; this is a particularly demanding role, with administrative duties such as publicity and social media management, organising socials, and coordination with the Oxford dance team captains, as well as monitoring the progress of the dance pieces. She and her co-captain lead CUDCT to a 6-1 Varsity victory in 2023/24, and many victories at the University of Manchester Dance Competition and GHGH University Dance Championships. Téa is an innovative co-captain; for example, she improved strength/conditioning sessions with careful planning to integrate style-specific techniques and progressive strengthening, and implemented a fairer scoring system for the Varsity Competition. In the first few weeks of her 2024/25 co-captaincy she has also helped to organise 23 dance workshops for the coming Easter term, which will be raising money for Parkinson’s UK, Beat: Beat Eating Disorders UK, and UNICEF: Helping Children in Gaza. 

Overall, Téa is a beloved member of CUTAZZ who always strives to improve the standard of CUTAZZ and CUDCT. She is an invaluable source of guidance and support, especially to newer committee members. Her skills as a dancer and choreographer are outstanding, and the team spirit that she has cultivated in CUDCT has facilitated not only exceptional competitive performances, but also a positive environment wherein advanced dance is enjoyed and celebrated. It is this supportive, nurturing atmosphere that keeps dancers coming back to CUDCT, and Téa is an integral part of that. 


8. Tads Ciecierski-Holmes, Modern Pentathlon Club 

Tads is the glue of Cambridge University Modern Pentathlon Club (CUMPC). Everyone knows Tads as a friendly face and someone to talk to when they have a problem, but not everyone realises the exceptional amount of work Tads has put into CUMPC during his 6 years (and counting) in Cambridge.  

Tads has made an outstanding contribution to sport at Cambridge University this academic year (2023-2024) and previous years. From an individual competitor perspective representing Cambridge University Modern Pentathlon Club (CUMPC), Tads came 1st winning the BUCS Individual Men’s Gold, was part of the Cambridge A team that came 1st at BUCS, came 1st winning the Men’s Individual Overall Trophy at Varsity, the Men’s Shooting Medal at Varsity, and was part of the men’s team that came 1st at Varsity. From these performances he was invited to Nationals where he placed 7th having only had two weeks’ notice to practice the new version of Modern Pentathlon which has exchanged the horse riding for a ninja warrior style obstacle course. 

Tads has been a member of CUMPC since 2017 and has held many committee positions, each year giving an outstanding contribution to the club. From a leadership perspective, Tads is on the committee of CUMPC and goes above and beyond his role as Safety Officer. Tads organised kit, training, and transport for the novices, and took the novice team to Oxford for the Novice varsity match. He regularly drove athletes to beginner riding lessons to ensure their success at varsity. He coached the shooting and combined sessions and made the club a welcoming place for both new and existing members. Tads organised the CUMPC annual dinner, various socials throughout the year, transport and accommodation for BUCS, and transport to Varsity.  

Tads cares about the club and its position as a club welcome to all. This academic year Tads liaised with a para-athlete and conducted all the risk assessments and session plans to ensure the para-athlete could join in the training sessions offered by the club. Tads had to do extra work to make this happen, and it was successful.  

Tads has been the driving force behind the swimming partnership which has gone from strength to strength in its second year running. This is a partnership between CUMPC, Cambridge University Swimming and Water Polo Club (CUSWPC), and Cambridge University Triathlon Club (CUTriC) who share pool time at the Leys. This saves each club £1000s per year and enables high quality coaching to be provided to more swimmers. Tads ensures the pool times are booked, each club has representatives to sign and agree on the terms, and coaches are available to run the sessions. This is his brainchild, and many people are benefiting from it. 

Tads goes above and beyond and this shows by the amount he does, often single handed, for the club, as well as being a high performing athlete himself. He deserves this recognition.