Young Inspiration Award Shortlisted Nominees

The Young Inspiration Award focuses on the young talent of the future, who have continued to pursue their passion for sport. Nominees must be 21 years old or younger on January 1, 2020.

2020’s nominees are:

Emily Linscott

During lockdown, 17-year-old racing driver Emily Linscott got the opportunity to travel to America to compete. Despite the risks posed by the pandemic, the young driver took eight top-10 places in competitions, including fourth place at Autobahn, Illinois and setting a new lap record at Nola Motorsports Park in Louisiana. She also holds the lap record at NCM Motorsport Park in Kentucky from last year. She is mentored by British Indycar driver Pippa Mann.

Layla Banaras

Layla Banaras is a 14-year-old footballer for Birmingham City FC under-16s and has played for the club since the age of eight. As one of very few young Muslim women playing football at her level, Banaras wants to inspire other young Muslim girls to take up the sport and hopes to one day become the first Muslim woman to play for England.

Banaras was featured on the South Asian Heritage social media page, telling the story of how she fell in love with football. After training during Ramadan, Banaras realised there was no guidance in place for players who were playing while fasting. She is working to develop a healthy eating programme for Muslim footballers who want to train through Ramadan.

Roya Mehdizadeh-Valoujerdy

Roya Mehdizadeh-Valoujerdy is a football coach and chair of the FA National Youth Council. On the council, she is the voice of young people and has contributed to the discussion around inclusion and LGBT issues in football.

Mehdizadeh-Valoujerdy, 20, has worked on the FA and Youth Sport Trust national camps and academies, the English Colleges FA National Student Leadership Committee, and been a Kick It Out Game Changer. She has also been a Youth Sport Trust team leader, a Football Development Officer at Horsforth St Margaret’s school, and a senior member of the Derbyshire County FA Youth Council. She recently began working full-time for Football Beyond Borders, an education charity which uses the power of football to support disadvantaged young people in the UK.

Lilly Holmes

Lilly Holmes, 12, should have been at trials for England Hockey’s Performance Centre this summer. Instead, she set up a hockey-inspired obstacle course in her garden and filmed herself training to inspire other young people to keep playing sport during lockdown.

Holmes watched YouTube videos to learn new tricks, such as how to aerial the ball and how to drag flick, then filmed herself training and posted them on Twitter. She filmed for 121 days and her videos were shared by England Hockey.

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