The shortlist for the 2020 Isle of Man Sports Awards, sponsored by Microgaming Play It Forward, has been revealed.

The event had to be held virtually last April because of Covid restrictions on gatherings, but this year’s ceremony is set to take place at the Villa Marina’s Royal Hall, Douglas on Thursday, March 25 [subject to any further outbreaks of the virus in the island].

The annual event honours the Isle of Man’s sporting heroes and recognises the many fantastic achievements during 2020; without doubt the most difficult in recent history for leisure activities.

The 2020 Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year categories have been shortened to the following 12 individuals - men: Sam Brand (cycling), Niall Cummins (football), Tom Gandy (golf), Ollie Lockley (athletics), Jamie McCanney (off-road motorcycling) and Christian Varley (athletics). Women: Charlotte Atkinson (swimming), Sinead Cox (equestrian), Kim Dean (weight-lifting), Rachael Franklin (athletics), Lizzie Holden (cycling) and Yasmin Ingham (equestrian).

Newly-elected chairperson at Isle of Man Sport, Sarah Corlett, said: ’Following a difficult year for Manx sport we are pleased to be hosting the Sports Awards in person at the Villa Maria once again.

’I want to thank the public for taking the time to send their nominations in for consideration. The committee had a tough time narrowing down the list of nominated athletes, coaches and teams in each category.

’Despite the hurdles that 2020 threw at us, we were delighted to be able to have the same number of athletes competing at up to the highest levels in all of our categories, which is a testament to their dedication and hard work in the most difficult of circumstances.’

In total there are 12 categories, including under-21 sportsman and sportswoman, team, coach, disability sportsperson, veteran sportsperson, administrator and IoM Sports Ambassador of the year.

The Leonie Cooil courage and inspiration award will be presented for the first time, in memory of a former island swimmer who dedicated most of her life to sport and continued to do so during her battle with terminal cancer.

Leonie’s family wanted to make an award to someone within sport who has shown courage in adversity and is an inspiration to everyone in our island.

The ceremony will also see the 2021/22 Isle of Man Sports Aid scholarships presented to our stars of the future.

The event will start at 8.15pm and tickets are available to book online via the Villa Gaiety box office.

Headline sponsor Microgaming, through its PlayItForward programme, will present the Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year awards, and each of the other categories is sponsored by a local company or organisation.

Nominations as follows: Sportsman of the Year: Sam Brand (cycling), Niall Cummins (football), Tom Gandy (golf), Ollie Lockley (athletics), Jamie McCanney (off-road motorcycling), Christian Varley (athletics).

Sportswoman of the Year: Charlotte Atkinson (swimming), Sinead Cox (equestrian), Kim Dean (para-weight lifting), Rachael Franklin (athletics), Lizzie Holden (cycling), Yasmin Ingham (equestrian).

Under-21 Sportsman of the Year: Sinead Cox (equestrian), Rebecca Cooke (netball), Sienna Dunn (hockey), Mia Dunwell (race walking), Emma Hodgson (swimming), Amelia Sharpe (cycling).

Under-21 Sportswoman of the Year: Will Draper (triathlon), Jed Etchells (enduro), Tyler Hannay (cycling), Adam Long (football), Bevan Rodd (rugby), Ben Sinclair (athletics), Max Walker (cycling).

Disability Sportsperson of the Year: Chloe Chadwick (equestrian), Kim Dean (para-weight lifting), Ben Grainger (swimming), Sean Jackson (football), Erika Kelly (race walking), Harry Lee (swimming).

Sports Team of the Year: FC Isle of Man football team, IoM hockey under-18 boys’ team; IoM cricket under-15 team, IoM netball under-17 team, Manx Harriers senior women’s cross-country team.

Sports Administrator of the Year: Petra Atchison (athletics), Janelle Clarke (cricket), Pip Cross (netball), Mo Kelly (athletics), Paul Jones (football), Sarah Webster (athletics).

IoM Sports Ambassador: Sam Brand, Tom Gandy, Christian Varley.

Sports Coach of the Year: Andy Fox (athletics), Dave Lockley (athletics), John Whitlow (athletics), Emma Williams (netball), Tom Wilson (hockey).

Veteran Sportsperson of the Year: Adrian Beale (mountain biking), Gianni Epifani (cycling and race walking), Andy Fox (athletics), Moira Hall (athletics), Carol Laporte (swimming), Sarah Webster (athletics).

The Leonie Cooil ’Courage and Inspiration’ Award: The recipient of this award will be selected by the Sports Awards committee and announced on the evening of the IoM Sports Awards.

Lifetime Achievement, sponsored by Crowe Isle of Man: The recipient of this award is also selected by the Sports Awards committee and announced on the evening of March 25 at the Villa Marina.