Leeds Rhinos legend and England Wheelchair team “break new ground for rugby league”

The RFL have congratulated Leeds Rhinos skipper Kevin Sinfield and England Wheelchair team for their recent awards.

Sinfield won the JL Manning Award for outstanding contribution off the field of play after raising over £6 million in the fight against Motor Neurone Disease having run seven marathons in seven days in 2020, 101 miles in 24 hours in 2021 and seven ultramarathons in a week.

Meanwhile, the England Wheelchair team won Bill McGowran Trophy for outstanding achievement in Para-sport after beating France in a terrific World Cup Final.

In response to this, the RFL have released the following statement congratulating them on “breaking new ground” for the sport:

“England’s Wheelchair World Cup winners and Kevin Sinfield OBE broke new ground for Rugby League at the Sports Journalists Association’s (SJA) 2022 British Sports Awards in London last week.

“They were respective winners of the Bill McGowran Trophy for outstanding achievement in Para-sport, and of the JL Manning Award for outstanding contribution off the field of play – the first time Rugby League has been recognised in the 73 years since the SJA awards were launched in 1949.

“In addition, James Simpson was nominated for the Sky / Kick It Out Award for equality and inclusion, which was won by the trailblazing swimmer Alice Dearing.

“Coyd and King shared the stage with Alfie Hewitt, who was recognised for his continued tennis success which in 2022 included the US Open Wheelchair Singles title, while Maisie Summers-Newton MBE won the individual female award for her success in Para-Swimming including at the Commonwealth Games.

“Sinfield’s award was in recognition of his latest inspirational fund-raising efforts this autumn on behalf of his former Leeds Rhinos team-mate Rob Burrow and for MND research – culminating in his unforgettable reception at Old Trafford at half-time in the Men’s World Cup Final.

“It was accepted on his behalf by Paul Hayward, the multi award-winning former Daily Telegraph and Guardian journalist who is working with Sinfield on a biography to be published soon.

“Other award winners included athletes Jake Wightman and Eilish McColgan, England cricket legend Jimmy Anderson, Baroness Sue Campbell, and the footballing Lionesses for their Euro 2022 triumph.

“The awards were sponsored by The National Lottery, who have also worked more closely than ever with Rugby League in recent years through their support of Women’s and Girls Rugby League and RLWC’s CreatedBy facilities investment programme.”

Meanwhile Tom Coyd, the England Wheelchair Head Coach who accepted the award on behalf of the team with his London Roosters club-mate Lewis King, said: “We’re thrilled and honoured to win our award, but to do so on the same stage as Kevin Sinfield makes it even more special – especially given Kevin’s role in establishing the Wheelchair game as part of the England Performance Unit.

“We talked before the World Cup about the chance to show Wheelchair Rugby League to a wider audience. This is a perfect example of that, as it’s taking Rugby League to places we’ve never been before.”

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