UK award for Gainsborough Paralympics Judoka star Jack Hodgson
Jack Hodgson won the Spirit of High-Performance award at the PLx Awards, hosted by UK Sport, alongside Judoka teammate Chris Skelley.
With the 2024 Paralympic Games in Paris just around the corner, these PLx Awards 2023 are a celebration of outstanding achievements by those who have contributed to making extraordinary sporting moments happen over the last year.
VI Judokas Hodgson and Skelley were jointly presented with the prestigious honour at an awards ceremony at Stratford-upon-Avon.
The pair were recognised following impressive success throughout their careers in which they have both displayed powerfully positive values, harnessing the true power and connection of sport.
The award was given in recognition of their partnership, friendship and support despite the challenges faced throughout the current Paralympic cycle.
Hodgson and Skelley have been best friends since they met at the England Talent programme over a decade ago and have since gone on to be best men at each other’s wedding, with Skelley becoming godfather to Hodgson’s daughter.
The duo have represented ParalympicsGB at both the 2016 and 2020 Paralympic Games. Both Judokas have deteriorating eyesight and a hearing impediment.
Ahead of next year’s Paralympics, new weight classifications mean the two are now in direct competition for a spot in Paris and last year were drawn against each other for the first time in the 2022 European Paralympic Championships.
Following the award, Hodgson said: “It’s absolutely heartbreaking that only one of us could go to the Games, but when we did find out we just went for a coffee together, sat down, looked at each other in the eyes and agreed it is what it is.
“Whoever goes, goes and whoever doesn’t go will be there as a training partner and that was it. That was the agreement we struck.
“We continue to encourage each other and critique each other when we’re up against one another. “We want to push each other. We’ve always had that mentality, we’re teammates and we’re not going to stop now just because there’s only one space left for the Games. Like I said we’ll be each other’s training partner, the best training partner we can be regardless.
“It's incredibly rewarding and we’re very proud to receive that award, however I think both of us have a bit of imposter syndrome with the amazing achievements that people in this room have done and we’re just sort of getting an award for being friends. But we’re honoured regardless.”
The PLx Awards celebrated the high-performance sporting community in the UK and their contributions as an individual, team, sport, or event during 2023.
To find out more about the PLx Awards, hosted by UK Sport and powered by The National Lottery, visit www.uksport.gov.uk.