Teenage sprinting sensation takes Rising Star gold at Burnley Community Awards
A teenage sprinter clocked as the fastest 400m runner for his age in Lancashire this year has been named Rising Star of the Year at the Burnley Community Sports Awards.
Nelson and Colne College student Osasu Agho-Peter, known as Sas, was awarded the accolade at the awards night at Burnley Mechanics Theatre – the first time the event has been held in two years due to Covid.
The 17-year-old joined Burnley Athletic Club in 2019 and soon settled on the 400m as his primary event, becoming Lancashire Schools Champion in his first year in the sport with a personal best time of 52:2 seconds.
He clocked his fastest time – 51:7 seconds – this summer in only his second race in two years because of the pandemic, making him the quickest 400m runner for his age in the county.
The judges praised his dedication to his sport and added: “Osasu is still a relative novice in sprinting and the pandemic has been a big hurdle to overcome in terms of his development. His dedication cannot be questioned though, as he regularly catches two buses to get to training and has often walked the 2.5 miles from his home to the track on training nights.”
Osasu, who is also a talented centre half for the Burnley FC shadow youth team at college, has now moved up to the under 20 age group and has shown he is more than capable of competing against older opposition, winning a silver medal in the Lancashire Championships to top off an excellent season.
“We are all looking forward to what a full winter’s training will mean for this talented one-lap runner in 2022,” added the judges.
Special recognition certificates were also given to a teenager tipped for the England men’s netball team, and a Padiham Green CofE Primary School pupil named as a sports ambassador for his school.
Netball-mad James Firminger started playing the sport at primary school and didn’t let the lack of opportunity at secondary school get in his way.
The 15-year-old, who umpires at Burnley Netball Club, plays for the Manchester Spartans men’s netball team, and was named Men’s Player of the Tournament at the England Men’s and Mixed Netball Association (EMMNA) national tournament in August.
The judges said: “James has been tipped for England. Despite setbacks, lack of opportunities and battling prejudice for loving a female-dominated sport, his passion and determination has won through, and he is now playing the sport he loves at a high level.”
All-rounder Oliver Markham not only captains Padiham Green’s school team, but also plays cricket, tennis, rugby and competes in athletics, cross country and swimming. He has been involved in every sports team and competition available to his age group.
Outside of school, Oliver plays football for AFC Wolves, hockey for Pendle Forest and pre-Covid, began training with Preston Hockey Club. He also plays for an adult rounders team.
The judges said: “Throughout lockdown, Oliver set challenges for himself and his mum to run every day for seven days no matter the weather they faced. Oliver has a bright and busy future ahead of him and we believe he will be a sportsman to look up to in the coming years.”