Antonia Nominated for SportsAid’s One-to-Watch Award 2019
Antonia Bunyan feared her Goalball career was over before it had barely begun but is now celebrating a nomination for SportsAid’s prestigious One-to-Watch Award.
Antonia from York, aged 19, began the year recovering from a fractured elbow but in her first competition back suffered a wrist injury. An operation on her throwing hand was followed by months of rehabilitation but she never gave up, playing a senior role in Great Britain’s bronze medal winning performance at the Youth World Championships.
Since then Antonia has gone from strength to strength and was selected for Team GB at the European Championships last month – an honour she believes is all thanks to SportsAid’s support to date.
‘It’s absolutely amazing, I can’t believe that I was lucky enough to be nominated. I honestly can’t put into words how happy I am about this; I think it’s a privilege to be nominated. I’m speechless.
At the start of the year I didn’t think I’d be able to play goalball ever again and then I was a starting player at a European Championships. I am really happy with how I’ve managed to get through this year. I’ve had some amazing experiences and I’ll never forget it.’
SportsAid’s One-to-Watch Award was launched in 2006 with double Olympic medallist and diving world champion Tom Daley the inaugural winner.
Paralympic champion Hollie Arnold MBE claimed the accolade in 2008 with para-athlete Sally Brown, hockey player Harry Martin, heptathlete Morgan Lake and sprinter Jodie Williams among the previous victors.
Antonia is now in line to join their illustrious company as one of 10 nominees selected from around 1,000 rising British stars supported by SportsAid across more than 60 different sports.
Dame Katherine Grainger, Britain’s most decorated female Olympian, and five-time Paralympic para-equestrian champion Natasha Baker, are among the panel of judges casting their eye over the nominees.
Antonia who is supported by SportsAid through the ‘Backing The Best’ programme, isn’t just talented on the court. She has completed courses in massage, Braille and an EPQ while studying at the Royal National College for the Blind, laying the foundations of future careers in and out of sport.
‘I want to be successful in my career as an athlete but also as a normal person,’ explained Antonia.
‘I want to set up my own massage business but my ultimate ambition with goalball is to get to the Paralympics, we were so close this time – just one goal away from going – but it’s still my dream. It’s something I’ve wanted to do from a young age so, hopefully, I can pursue that. I don’t want to do it half-heartedly, I want to be world class one day. I want to be at the top of my game and I want people to know who I am because of what I’ve done and how hard I’ve worked.’
The winner of SportsAid’s prestigious One-to-Watch Award will be revealed at the charity’s ‘Celebrate the Next’ event, sponsored by the Royal Bank of Canada, in London on Tuesday 19 November. Please visit www.sportsaid.org.uk for further information.