15-year-old swimmer, Josef Craig, was named BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year last night (Sunday 16 December) after becoming the youngest Paralympic gold medallist at London 2012, winning the S7 400m freestyle final. Josef, who has mild cerebral palsy, won the final in a new world record, knocking nearly two seconds off the previous best.
Speaking to the BBC Josef said:
A big thanks to everyone who helped me get the gold. I'd like to thank my family, friends and Performance Director John Atkinson at British Swimming.
Josef attends St Joseph's RC Comprehensive School in Hepburn, which was part of the Youth Sport Trust's STARS Squad (Supporting Talented Athletes on The Road to Success) in 2008-09 and he competed at the 2010 UK School Games in Newcastle and Gateshead.
Nominations for the award were made to the BBC by sports governing bodies via the Youth Sport Trust and the shortlist was drawn from the nominations by a panel of judges, which included two representatives from the Youth Sport Trust. Previous winners of the award include footballer Wayne Rooney, tennis star Andy Murray and diver Tom Daley.
Josef made the final shortlist of three, along with fellow Paralympic swimmer and former UK School Games competitor, Jessica-Jane Applegate, who claimed gold in the 200m Freestlye S14 and set a new Paralympic record. Olympic gymnast Rebecca Tunney, who was Team GB's youngest team member at London 2012 and finished 13th in the Women's individual artistic all-round Olympic final was also on the shortlist.
Earlier in December, Craig was joint winner of the BBC North East Sports Personality award with Olympic rowing gold medallist Katherine Copeland.
London 2012 chief Lord Coe was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award, recognised for his efforts both on and off the track and leading the bid to bring, and subsequent successful delivery of, the Olympic and Paralympic Games to London. During his acceptance speech, Lord Coe praised the role of PE teachers and the value and power they have on young people's lives.