Aston Villa's Easah Suliman wins British Ethnic Diversity Sports Award
By Dev Trehan
Last Updated: 07/02/16 10:59pm
Easah Suliman says winning a British Ethnic Diversity Sports Award (BEDSA) is a confidence boost as he works towards his dream of making his Aston Villa debut.
The promising young centre-back was named 2016 Youth Sport Trust Young Sports Person of the Year at London's Grosvenor Hotel on Saturday night, landing the accolade ahead of gymnast Ellie Downie and long-jumper Shara Proctor.
"This feels unbelievable. This is such a great event and I am just so proud to win this award," the 18-year-old told Sky Sports.
"It's been a good few months for me after winning Young Player of the Year at the Asian Football Awards at Wembley Stadium last November. These awards are nice, they are definitely a confidence boost but the important thing for me is to keep working hard and to concentrate on my football.
"This is just the start for me and hopefully it can help me achieve bigger and better things. These awards and trophies are great but I want to play for Villa and win trophies on the pitch. That is what will give me the greatest satisfaction."
Suliman played every minute of England's U17 World Cup campaign in Chile last autumn and is the first player of Pakistani heritage to captain an England side.
He said: "Playing in the U17 World Cup with England last year was a great experience. I learnt so much there which puts me in good stead for the future.
"If I can keep playing well for Villa's U18s and ViIla's U21s then hopefully I can also keep progressing with England."
Backed by Sporting Equals, the BEDSAs celebrate the sporting achievements of Britain's Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) communities from grassroots through to the elite level.
Sports personalities at this year's event included IBF super-middleweight boxing champion James DeGale, former Tottenham and Arsenal defender Sol Campbell, and Chelsea Ladies and England forward Eni Aluko.
Winners in full:
Lycamobile Sportsman of the Year - Lewis Hamilton
SE LeaderBoard Sportswoman of the Year - Jessica Ennis-Hill
Young Sportsperson of the Year Award - Easah Suliman
Sporting Equals Lifetime Achievement Award - Frank Bruno
The University of Leicester Special Recognition Award - Paul Elliott
UK Sport Inspirational Performance of the Year - Rachel Choong
Tennis Foundation Special Recognition Award - Rashida Salloo
Jaguar Unsung Hero - Raza Sadiq
Professional Footballers Association Coach of the Year - Siva Ramasamy
Sport England Community Sports Project - Swim Dem Crew