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Naomi Lee and Paul Gilmour have netted the top awards in this year’s BBC Northern Ireland Young Sports Commentator of the Year 2003 competition in association with the Sports Council for Northern Ireland.

17 year-old Paul from Carrickfergus was the overall winner in the Senior Category while ten year old Naomi from Ballymoney took the title in the Junior Category.

Paul will now have the opportunity to broadcast live from an event covered by BBC Northern Ireland Sport while Naomi will get the chance to spend a day with a BBC reporter at a local sporting event.

Ed Smith, Editor Sport BBC Northern Ireland, who was one of the judges of the competition was impressed with the high quality of the entries.

“This is the fourth year that we’ve run the competition and the standard of entry just gets better and better,” said Ed.

“For the first time ever, we felt it necessary to have a ‘commended’ award in both categories due to the difficulty the judges, which included Sammy McIlroy and Joe Kernan, had in picking overall winners. We would like to thank the Sports Council for their continuing support and congratulate Naomi and Paul and all the young people from all over Northern Ireland who took the time to enter the competition and congratulate them on their excellent work and hope they keep trying as their work has really impressed everyone.

“It’s a great opportunity for both the overall winners – for the Senior Category winner to broadcast live from next Wednesday’s international game involving Northern Ireland and Spain and for the Junior winner to come and spend a day with the BBC Northern Ireland Sports department.”

Speaking at a prestigious winners' presentation party at BBC Northern Ireland, Blackstaff House, Professor Eric Saunders, Chairman of the Sports Council for Northern Ireland, thanked the judges and the BBC team. 

“It is vital for sport in Northern Ireland to receive the backing of local media and it is through partnerships like this competition, that the Sports Council endeavours to strengthen this support.  Both organisations provide a service to the local community and sport should be a part of everyone's life.  The level of enthusiasm received by the Young Sports Commentator competition, demonstrates that young people can be involved in sport in lots of different ways.”

Paul’s entry was on Northern Ireland’s football match against Armenia while Naomi reported on the Grand National.

The Young Sports Commentator of the Year competition, launched in March by BBC Northern Ireland sport presenters Joel Taggart and Denise Watson, received hundreds of entries from young people from local schools all over Northern Ireland. The Junior Category entrants had to submit a written entry of no more than 200 words on a sporting event while those for the Senior Category recorded a two minute commentary.



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