Para-rowing world champion Ellen Buttrick wins the Jun Yamaguchi Sport Award

World champion Ellen Buttrick, who won gold in the PR3 mixed coxed four at this year’s World Championships, received the prestigious Jun Yamaguchi Sport Award on Friday 28 September


Ellen Buttrick with the mixed coxed four at the Worlds (c) Naomi Baker

Ellen Buttrick, 23, a member of the PR3 mixed coxed four at last month’s World Rowing Championships, was chosen as this year’s recipient for the Jun Yamaguchi Sport Award, hosted by Deloitte, on Friday.

Set up in honour of the late Jun Yamaguchi, a partner of Deloitte LLP, the award supports three developing Para athletes on their journey to the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics. The Award reflects Mr Yamaguchi’s passion for sport and Japan.

With a total fund of £45,000, the prize is split into three different levels with the gold award receiving £20,000; silver £15,000 and bronze £10,000.

The presentation ceremony was held at Deloitte’s London headquarters. Afterwards, a delighted Buttrick said: “Receiving this award gives me the freedom to pursue my passion and the opportunity for me to invest time in myself as an athlete and in others.

“I consider myself very privileged to be in this position and I am grateful to the Jun Yamaguchi Sport Award.

“I hope that through application of the award’s core values: sincerity, integrity, society impact and network building, I can reach my full potential as an athlete in the GB Para-rowing team, whilst also supporting others to reach theirs too.

“Thank you very much for this golden opportunity.”

Buttrick started to row as a student in June 2012 at Leeds Rowing Club, but started to suffer from a loss of vision and was diagnosed with Juvenile Macular Dystrophy in 2014, making it difficult for her to navigate when rowing.

After a break from the sport, she attended a Para-rowing Talent ID day last August and, a year on, is now world champion after winning gold with the mixed coxed four in her first ever international race at this month’s World Rowing Championships in Plovidiv.

Her rapid progress into the GB Para-Rowing squad was made possible thanks to the England Talent Pathway where coach Ella Willott helped her improve her technique and performance as Buttrick trained hard for selection to the Para-rowing squad.

Winning gold in the Jun Yamaguchi Sport Award will make a huge difference to Buttrick’s life as a high performance athlete. She is currently based in Leeds where she works part-time but she also has to travel to Reading where the GB Rowing Team train. The prize will provide her with the opportunity to train more frequently at the national training centre with the senior squads in order to help achieve her goals of being selected for the Para-rowing squad for Tokyo 2020. She will also be pursuing a Masters degree alongside her rowing.

For more details about the Award, click here.