British Ethnic Diversity Sports Awards: Ellie Downie and Maro Itoje triumph

Maro Itoje in action for England
Maro Itoje was an integral part of the Lions' squad in New Zealand last summer

Gymnast Ellie Downie and rugby union's Maro Itoje were named sportswoman and sportsman of the year at the 2018 British Ethnic Diversity Sports Awards.

Downie, 18, won all-around gold at the European Championships last year, qualifying for every individual final.

Itoje, 23, had a successful year for Saracens, England and the British and Irish Lions.

Pioneering footballer Cyrille Regis, who died in January aged 59, was given a special recognition award.

The BEDSAs are organised by Sporting Equals and celebrate ethnic diversity in professional and lower-level sport. They also celebrate community groups and volunteers in sport.

Harlequins player Marcus Smith was also a winner at the event, hosted by Sir Lenny Henry at the Grosvenor House hotel in London.

The 19-year-old took home the Youth Sport Trust Young Sportsperson of the Year award.

"It's important for anyone hoping to get into sports to keep working hard and to enjoy what they do, whether it's playing with your mates on a Wednesday night, or playing a game on a Saturday as a professional," he said.

"Make sure you enjoy every minute, stay grounded and work hard."

BEDSA winners

The Royal Navy Sports Woman of the Year Award - Ellie Downie

Sporting Equals Sportsman of the Year Award - Maro Itoje

Youth Sport Trust Young Sportsperson of the Year - Marcus Smith

UK Sport Inspirational Performance of the Year - Kadeena Cox

The British Army Unsung Hero Award - Tarsem Singh Cheema

England Athletics Coach of the Year - Christian Malcolm

Sport England Community Sports Project of the Year - Singh Sabha Slough

Spirit of 2012 Connecting Communities Award - Manchester Womens Sports Programmes

Tennis Foundation Serves Community Tennis Project - Sikh Welfare Awareness Team

England Wales Cricket Board Special Recognition Award - Essex Cricket in the Community

RFU Special Recognition Award - Harborne RFC and Joseph Chamberlain College

Jaguar Lifetime Achievement Award - Permi Jhooti

FA Special Recognition Award - Cyrille Regis

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