SPORTING stars from Wyre Forest will be in the spotlight tonight at an awards evening in Kidderminster.

Wyre Forest District Sports Council is recognising outstanding achievement at its annual presentations at the Forest Glades Leisure Centre.

Kidderminster Harriers chairman Colin Youngjohns will be on hand to present six awards to winners from four sports.

Three accolades have been scooped by karate, while swimming, shooting and judo have picked up one award each.

Wyre Forest people were asked to nominate their choice for senior sports personality of 2004, junior sports personality, coach of the year, club of the year, junior team of the year and an appreciation award.

The audience of around 200 will also see the latest round of Ray Mercer Sporting Foundation grants being presented.

A total of £1,250 will be handed out to eight Wyre Forest young people who are excelling in hockey, fencing, gymnastics and judo.

The scheme was set up 10 years ago by the Shuttle/Times and News to give the district's most talented youngsters a financial helping hand to provide them with a better chance of reaching the top in their chosen sport.

Since then over 70 young people from more than 20 sports have shared in excess of £20,000 from the foundation set up in memory of former Kidderminster Harriers secretary Ray Mercer.

Next week the Shuttle/Times and News will be profiling the eight winners of this year's cash awards.



JOHN Bennett has been recognised for almost 50 years service to Kidderminster Rifle Club with the appreciation award for 2004.

He was originally asked to fill the post of secretary for the club in February 1955 and still carries out the role with great enthusiasm.

Over the years, Bennett has shot full-bore and 22-target rifle at county and national levels and was also a very fine pistol shot.

Bennett, who has been a member of the club for 54 years, has organised club and county events and administered the day-to-day running of the club, as well as being a league secretary.

Other club members look upon Bennett as a father figure and he is always on hand to offer advice on kit, coaching and competitions.


THE Kate Walker success story keeps on rolling with the Kidderminster judo star adding the junior sports personality of the year gong to her growing list of achievements.

Once again, the Samurai club member was the most successful judo player in Worcestershire with 22 medals during 2004.

Her highlights were becoming British Cadet Champion and British Junior Nationals silver medalist, while she finished second in the GB junior rankings.

Although Kate is only 15, she won medals in a number of full senior events including a gold at a British Senior ranking event, the Eastern Area Senior Open.

As a member of the British Youth Squad and the British Cadet Squad, she is highly rated by national coaches and considered a top prospect for the future.

She was selected for the British Team for the St Petersburg Team Challenge in Russia, where she was the only clear British winner.

Kate, who is also Midlands Junior Referee of the Year, has set her sights on being selected for two major European events and getting a place on the British Senior Squad. Her long term aim is to take part in the Olympics.


TSUNAMI trio Emily Powell, Kara Bennett and Adam Ziubrzynski scooped the junior team of the year award with achievements which go far beyond their tender ages.

Despite being in their teens, they managed to secure the silver medal against senior opponents in the adult team kata category at nationals last year.

And the trio eclipsed that by clinching gold medals in the 15-17 years age group kata as Tsunami excelled at the Kimura Shukokai World Championships in South Africa.

They also won two silvers in kumite and two bronzes in the individual kata and have clinched three golds, one silver and two bronzes at other shukokai competitions.

As well as their team achievements, Emily, 15, Kara, 16 and Adam, 14, who has since left the club, won numerous individual awards in 2004.

The highlight for Emily was when she was awarded the Shukokai Karate Federation Kimura Cup after being named as the most outstanding student at the championships in Stourbridge.

The trio, who have been involved with the sport since they were seven, are all black belts and have won junior national team titles six years in a row.


AFTER Clare Cashmore's amazing achievements at the 2004 Paralympics in Athens there could be no other contender for the disabled sports personality of the year title.

The-16-year-old swimming star returned from the 2004 games triumphant after winning two bronzes in the pool.

Claire, who is missing half of her left arm and competes in the S9 category, came third in the 200 metres individual medley and the 100 metres backstroke.

On top of her success in the Greek capital, the Wyre Forest Swimming Club member also celebrated eight gold medals from eight events at the DSE junior championships.

She also excelled at the Paralympic trials against international swimmers with one gold and four bronzes.

Claire is hoping to continue her rapid progress in the pool after moving to Kerry College in Devon to receive specialist coaching.

The former Hagley RC School pupil has now set her sights on the World Championships in Durban, South Africa next year.


TSUNAMI Karate Club went from strength to strength in 2004 and have been rewarded for an outstanding year with the club of the year accolade.

Under the guidance of Sensei Dave Powell and Sensei Solfrid Daniels Tsunami's highlight came at the Kimura Shukokai World Championships in Soth Africa.

Competing against 20 other countries, five Tsunami members did Britain proud by returning with five golds, three silver and two bronze medals.

As well as Powell and Daniels, young pretenders Emily Powell, Kara Bennett and Adam Ziubrzynski were also among the top prizes.

It was the icing on the cake for a club whose membership has risen to 30, including seven black belts, with those on board aged from six to 64.

The club also won a record four golds, four silver and seven bronze in the National Championships and the Kimura Cup.

Many of the Tsunami members train up to four times a week at the club's bases in Kidderminster, Bewdley and Stourport.

Club secretary Kim Powell said: "It's been another fantastic year for the club and to do so well at the world championships in South Africa was wonderful for us."

Tsunami is one of the most successful shukokai clubs in England and teaches respect, discipline and concentration.


SENSEI Solfrid Daniels will act as an inspiration to others after calling time on her competitive karate career to concentrate on coaching.

Daniels richly deserves the coach of the year award after reaching the pinnacle of her sport as a participant and as a tutor with Tsunami.

She is one of the most successful, respected and dedicated shukokai karate coaches in England and has been a member of the Great Britain squad for many years.

The 42-year-old showed great spirit to come back from a serious knee operation and steal the show at the world championships in South Africa.

Among numerous other achievements, Norwegian-born Daniels celebrated her fifth successive world title in the kumite category.

Daniels has been involved in the sport for more than 20 years and is married to Shihan Eddie Daniels, one of the country's leading instructors.

Her own coaching credentials are impressive and she is responsible for training the British girls kata team, combining strict discipline with humour.