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Jenni Falconer honours Glasgow Sport Hero with National Lottery Award

11th October 2022

Diver Andrea Spendolini-Sirieix, one of the breakout stars of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, has been crowned the National Lottery Awards 2022 Athlete of the Year after a staggering 11,000 votes were cast across the competition.

Jenni Falconer with National Lottery Award winner, Eric Sproul

Then aged just 17, Andrea wowed crowds in Birmingham this year with an incredible performance and bagged an impressive trio of medals – all while being cheered on by her dad Fred Sirieix, maître d' and matchmaker on the hit Channel 4 show First Dates.

She won two gold medals at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games - one in the Women's 10m platform and one in the Mixed Pairs Synchronised 10m platform with Noah Williams - and a silver medal in the Women's Synchronised 10m platform with Eden Cheng. She also went on to win two further gold medals at the European Championships in Rome and two bronze medals at the World Aquatic Championships in Hungary this summer.

The National Lottery Athlete of the Year category recognises the performances and legacy of our sporting heroes and showcases the impact of National Lottery funding on elite sport.

Ten incredible athletes were shortlisted for this year’s National Lottery Athlete of the Year award and members of the public cast more than 11,000 votes to decide this year’s winner.

Despite stiff competition from the likes of cyclist Laura Kenny and runner Eilish McColgan, Andrea, now 18, emerged as the clear favourite with more than 4,000 votes online and on social media.

To commemorate her Athlete of the Year win, Andrea will receive an iconic National Lottery Awards trophy.

Andrea is among more than 1,000 elite athletes funded by The National Lottery through UK Sport’s World Class Programme. The programme allows athletes such as Andrea to train full time, have access to the world’s best coaches and benefit from pioneering technology, science and medical support.

Andrea said: “I’m just speechless. It’s mind-blowing. To be one of the nominees and then to have won, I don’t really know how to describe how I’m feeling. I’m just very, very thankful.

“It gives me a lot of joy because I love what I do, I love my sport. To win accolades and awards like this, it’s such a beautiful sport and it’s incredible.

“The National Lottery help fund athletes and without them I wouldn’t be able to train. I’m very grateful for all of their support and to the public as well, every week they raise £30 million for good causes and that is mind-blowing. It’s the power of community and the power of everyone working together for us so I’m very, very grateful.”

To commemorate her Athlete of the Year win, Andrea will receive an iconic National Lottery Awards trophy.

Andrea is among more than 1,000 elite athletes funded by The National Lottery through UK Sport’s World Class Programme. The programme allows athletes such as Andrea to train full time, have access to the world’s best coaches and benefit from pioneering technology, science and medical support.

Andrea said: “I’m just speechless. It’s mind-blowing. To be one of the nominees and then to have won, I don’t really know how to describe how I’m feeling. I’m just very, very thankful.

“It gives me a lot of joy because I love what I do, I love my sport. To win accolades and awards like this, it’s such a beautiful sport and it’s incredible.“

The National Lottery help fund athletes and without them I wouldn’t be able to train. I’m very grateful for all of their support and to the public as well, every week they raise £30 million for good causes and that is mind-blowing. It’s the power of community and the power of everyone working together for us so I’m very, very grateful.”

Jenni Falconer with National Lottery Awards trophy

Jenni travelled to Glasgow to present Eric with his trophy and to congratulate him on his achievement.

Jenni said: “I know myself how important sport is in dealing with the stresses that life throws at us. Physical and mental health go hand in hand. Finding an activity that you love doing can be life changing.

“It’s an incredible honour to give Eric this trophy for The National Lottery Awards Sport hero. Eric is an amazing example of harnessing the power of physical activity to boost mental wellbeing and paying it forward by volunteering his time to his local community. I hope his story inspires more people to think about revisiting the sports and activities they love as a way of improving other areas of their lives.”

Thanks to National Lottery players, more than £30 million goes to good causes across the UK every week, which in turn helps people like Eric continue to carry out incredible work in their communities.

Phoenix Community Centre is part of The National Lottey supported Easterhouse Community Sports Hub, which partners with and is supported locally by Glasgow Life who have assisted the development of Cycling in Easterhouse. The community sport hub programme is one of sportscotland’s key programmes to support local sport. It brings together sport clubs and community organisations to develop and grow sport at a local level. The National Lottery funded programme is central to sportscotland’s commitment to ensuring that everyone gets the best out of Scotland’s world-class sporting system.