Bethan Littlewood, who led the GB Senior Women’s Canoe Polo team to European gold in 2019, is in line for recognition after being nominated for a National Lottery Award.
Bethan from Bridgend has been nominated in the Sport Category of this year’s National Lottery Awards for the huge positive impact she has on the people around her through her positive can-do attitude, caring nature, focus on inclusion and unbeatable love of fitness.
Bethan is Chair of Bridgend Canoe Club, which received National Lottery funding to set up their training venue.
She has been an inspiration both through the pandemic and throughout her paddlesport career – not just to the young members of her canoe club, but to paddlers across Wales and the sporting community as a whole.
Although Bethan is only 25, she has already achieved and faced more challenges than most. A fitness fanatic from a young age, at 12 she fell in love with canoe polo. By 14 she was on the GB under-21 canoe polo team and won a bronze medal in the European Championships in 2011.
However, at the age of 15, whilst training for the 2012 World Championships, she was diagnosed with stage 3C ovarian cancer.
Beth’s optimism and determination saw her through this challenging period – and after two years of chemotherapy plus major surgery, she returned to the World Championships in 2014.
Progressing through the divisions, she carried on leading the GB SeniorWomen’s team to a gold medal at the 2019 European Canoe Polo Championships.
In recognition of this incredible journey, she was nominated for and then won the Canoe Wales 2020 Paddler of the Year award last October.
Bethan, who is also growing her own fitness company, Bionic Fitness, said:
“It truly is a great honour to be recognised as a finalist in the Sport category of The National Lottery Awards. Fitness has saved my life; I want to help others have their best chance of life by sharing the wonders that fitness has to offer.
“I have always really appreciated everything sport has to give, and The National Lottery has supported many aspects of the sport I enjoy. I have learnt a load of life skills and met the most amazing people at a young age through sport. The opportunity to share that with others is within my gift.”
A panel, made up of representatives of The National Lottery and partners, will decide the winners in each category from a shortlist of five.
Winners will be revealed in the autumn and will receive a £3,000 cash prize for their organisation and a coveted National Lottery Awards trophy.