Announced on Thursday 29th September, Cameroon’s Sarah Hanffou and Anna Hursey of Wales have been named in the list of nominees for the inaugural BBC Green Sport Awards.
Sarah Hanffou is named in the Athlete of the Year Award category, the accolade being for professional sporting personalities who have raised awareness or initiated environmental and social change in the past year.
Winner of the women’s singles title at the 2010 African Championships in Yaoundé, a lawyer based in Paris, Sarah Hanffou is best known for Ping Sans Frontières, a non-profit making organisation designed to promote the humanitarian element of sport.
The organisation dates back to the 2005 Francophonie Games in Niger, in which Sarah participated as a member of the French team. She visited Niamey, the capital city, seeing outside a broken net, a single ball, children playing in the roadside where cars passed at high speed.
Motivated, aware of the social and educational role table tennis can play, Sarah was eager to develop and allow people to know about table tennis throughout the African continent. In October 2006, Ping Sans Frontières was born.
Working closely with the International Table Tennis Federation, numerous missions involving training camps, coaches courses and building handmade table were made throughout Africa, before in October 2014 Ping Sans Frontières adopted a worldwide approach.
Meanwhile, Anna Hursey is nominated in the Young Athlete of the Year category. The award is for players who are displaying evidence they have to ability to gain high honours in their chosen discipline and have demonstrated support for environmental and climate change.
All nominees in this section must but 25 years old or younger at the start of the year.
Now 16 years old, Anna became the youngest ever player to compete in the table tennis events at the Commonwealth Games when she represented Wales in 2018 on the Gold Coast; more recently at the 2022 Commonwealth Games she was a women’s team bronze medallist.
Success in the playing arena in Birmingham, additionally, she was an ambassador, raising awareness for the Games’ legacy forest.
Earlier in 2021, she was appointed a United Nations champion for climate change in sport and addressed, Joe Biden, President of the United States, on the subject.
Dates for the award to be determined are yet to be announced.