Easah Suliman wins BEDSA Young Person of the Year award

Easah Suliman, Aston Villa and England under-17 defender, has been awarded Youth Sport Trust Young Person of the Year award at the Lycamobile British Ethnic Diversity Awards (BEDSA).

Easah Suliman, Aston Villa and England under-17 defender, has been awarded Youth Sport Trust Young Person of the Year award at the Lycamobile British Ethnic Diversity Awards (BEDSA).

The BEDSAs were established by Sporting Equals in 2015, to celebrate sporting excellence within black, minority and ethnic communities and help to inspire the next generation.

Held at London's Grosvenor House Hotel on Saturday night, the awards were attended by sports stars from across the country including Frank Bruno who took the Sporting Equals Lifetime Achievement Award; former England Football International Sol Campbell; and England Women's Football International Eni Aluko.

The teenager from Moseley, became the first footballer of Pakistani heritage to captain an England team and signed his first professional contract with Aston Villa, in January 2015.

Easah's rise through the junior ranks is all the more impressive as currently just nine of 3,000 professional footballers in the top four divisions come from South Asian descent.

He said, "It's very flattering and a terrific honour to have won the the Youth Sport Trust Young Sports Person of the Year Award. I'm excited to be able to be part of the Lycamobile British Ethnic Diversity Sports Awards."

Easah was selected by a panel of expert judges including Rugby World Cup winner Maggie Alphonsi MBE, former West Bromwich Albion favourite Brendon Batson OBE and former olympic sprinter Jason Gardener MBE.

Jason, a Youth Sport Trust School Sport Ambassador, said: "These awards are a great opportunity to recognise and celebrate grass-roots and elite sport from across Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities. It's been really exciting to be on the panel, and this year judging proved an exceptional challenge with the huge wealth of talent and ambitious individuals who are leading the way in the sporting world."

Easah also cited last year's British Ethnic Diversity Sports Award winner Moeen Ali as an inspiration and mentor in realising his dreams in professional sport as well as inspiring his community.

Phil Chamberlain, Director of External Relations at the Youth Sport Trust which sponsored the Young Sports Person of the Year Award for the second year running, said: "At the Youth Sport Trust we believe it is vitally important to ensure that every young person has the opportunity to access to, and progress through, PE, sport and physical activity, whatever their ability, background or community. We are really pleased to sponsor an award focussed on highlighting the personal achievement of a young sportsperson and how they can be a role model for others."

Arun Kang, Chief Executive Officer of Sporting Equals who founded the British Ethnic Diversity Sports Awards said: "Easah at such a young age is already inspiring young people from BME communities across Britain with his talent and the success he has had. We cannot wait to see what Easah achieves in the next few years but for now he is a very deserving winner of the Youth Sport Trust Young Sports Person of the Year category".

Here is the full list of winners of the 2016 British Ethnic Diversity Sports Awards:

The Youth Sport Trust's Young Sports Person of the Year Award

Easah Suliman

The Jaguar Unsung Hero of the Year Award

Raza Sadiq

Sport England Community Sports Project of the Year

Swim Dem Crew

Tennis Foundation Special Recognition Award

Rashida Salloo

The PFA Coach of the Year

Sivakumar Ramasamy

The UK Sport Inspirational Performance of the Year Award

Rachel Choong

The Sporting Equals Lifetime Achievement Award

Frank Bruno MBE

The University of Leicester Special Recognition Award

Paul Elliott CBE

The Sporting Equals Sportswoman of the Year

Jessica Ennis-Hill CBE

The Lycamobile Sportsman of the Year

Lewis Hamilton.

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