THE unsung heroes of York's sporting community are going head-to-head in this year's Community Pride awards.

The Sporting Hero award is once again being sponsored by one of the city's oldest and most famous sporting venues - York Racecourse.

The award is there to recognise an outstanding contribution made to York's sporting scene by an individual either in a playing or non-playing capacity.

In the past the award has seen nominations from athletics coaches, swimming teachers and club chairmen, and the category has the whole-hearted support of the racecourse, which also hosts the gala dinner awards ceremony for the winners and shortlisted nominees in October.

Last year's winner was paraclimber Sianagh Gallagher, who impressed the judges with her courage and determination to succeed.

Sianagh, who was just 16 when she was nominated, was born 10 weeks premature with medical problems including no left arm, and has fought her way onto the GB paraclimbing team.

Even though she was up against tough competition, the judges were bowled over by the warm and moving nominations made for her and presenting the award said Sianagh was an "all round hero" and added:

"She is brilliant role model who puts a smile on everyone’s face and would never let disability limit her. Sianagh is a courageous, determined and inspirational sporting star.”

Accepting the award, Sianagh said: "When you first start out you are not always going to be great but if you have enough determination you are going to succeed."

Now the awards sponsors and judges want to hear about this year's sporting heroes who are keeping sports clubs going, inspiring others, and working hard to improve sports across the city going.

The Racecourse’s James Brennan said they were delighted to support Community Pride and encouraged people to make sure their sporting heroes get the praise they deserve.

He added: “We want to support sport in this city. As well as racing, there are a number of football pitches here and every day we see people jogging around the site, we are a communal area when not being used as a racing facility.

“Everyone talks at home about how great their children’s sports coach is – don’t just talk about it at home, nominated them and get them the recognition they deserve.”

To make a nomination or for more information on Community Pride to go