BBC names inaugural Green Sport Award winners

BBC Sport has named its five inaugural Green Sport Award winners.

In partnership with the Sport Positive Summit, the awards celebrate individuals and organisations from across the globe who are actively contributing to a more sustainable future through their sporting profile and practises.

Evergreen Athlete Award (announced in July)

Winner: Leilani Münter

Why did she win?

A panel of judges recognised Münter, 48, as one of the first athletes to use her platform to such prominent effect in raising awareness of environmental issues, as well as a continued and escalating effort over many years – often to the detriment of her career. Unafraid and unapologetic, she brought the environmental conversation to petrolheads, while also challenging convention as a woman in a male-dominated sport.

What did she say?

“If we go down, we go down fighting, because we can’t give up. We’ve lost so many species, so much of the rainforest has been cut down, and so many of the coral reefs bleached. But there are still coral reefs alive, and there are still pockets of the rainforest thriving with animals. We have to remember to keep fighting for those things and not give up.”

Athlete of the Year

Winner: David Pocock

Why did he win?

A former professional rugby player, 34-year-old Pocock worked on a number of campaigns and projects during his playing career and has continued that in retirement. His work leading The Cool Down initiative – which resulted in more than 300 athletes writing an open letter to the Australian government encouraging bolder climate action – has been particularly commended. He recently made history by becoming the first independent senator for the Australian Capital Territory and is the first sportsperson to have transitioned into politics on a purely environmental platform.

What did he say?

“On climate change, I’d probably tell people to get involved. Rather than getting cynical and checking out, get involved, find people in your school, in your neighbourhood, who are interested in doing something. Act locally, but then also push your local politicians and your national politicians to get going. We don’t have any time to waste and I think it’s really exciting what we can actually build together.”

Young Athlete of the Year

Winner: Morten Thorsby

Why did he win?

Thorsby, who plays for Union Berlin and Norway, consistently engages his fellow footballers in conversations about environmental issues and climate action. Understanding the reach of football, the 26-year-old founded the We Play Green Foundation, specifically aimed at bringing together footballers and galvanising climate action in the football industry.

What did he say?

“I think it was my father who told me: ‘Morten, the best thing you can do for the environment is actually becoming as good as possible in football and keep speaking up about these issues and create a platform where you can speak and that’s what I’ve been doing ever since.'”

Ambition & Impact Award

Winner: SailGP

Why did it win?

SailGP was created as a climate positive sport, using technological innovations and making greener choices. In its third season, it has continued to drive down emissions each year. Along with the sailing competition on the sea, the teams must prove their commitment to making the sport sustainable through their Impact League – a separate leaderboard with its own prizes.

What did it say?

“Everyone involved in SailGP loves our purpose programmes. They really are engaged in it. They really care about it and the teams really care about the impact programme. That wasn’t always the case but nowadays they are incredibly competitive about it and incredibly passionate about the positive impact they’re having.”

Teamwork Award

Winner: Jadir Taekwondo Association (AJTKD)

Why did it win?

Based in Rio de Janeiro, Jadir Taekwondo Association has shown a commendable commitment to environmental education and the future of youth from deprived areas surrounded by conflict and armed violence. Holding environment and sustainability at the core of their activities, AJTKD has been working towards a better planet through involving children in interactive classes about how to live more sustainable lives.

What did they say?

Raphaella – a pupil at AJTKD – said: “Jadir Taekwondo Association has helped us and 7,000 other children from Rio to be more conscious of our impact on the environment. We hope to show a good example to the world.”

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