O'Brien gives back

Effort and determination were the order of the evening as West Ham United defender Joey O'Brien helped to recognise sporting achievements from young and old in the local community at the Canary Wharf Sports Awards.

The event, held at the East Wintergarden Hotel in the Docklands, was organised to mark the performances of people who excel in different sports, either on their own or from help and support they offer to the community where they live.

O'Brien, along with Newham international athlete Christine Ohuruogu, met and presented awards with those who live and play sport across east London.

There were several awards handed out during the evening, including a special recognition award given to young Hammers fan and charity fundraiser Jonjo Heuerman. The night though belonged to Ashley Facey-Thompson, who was awarded the Canary Wharf Sports Personality of the Year and has just been picked to represent Great Britain in this year's Paralympic Games in London.

The 16-year-old, is the number one ranked disabled table tennis player for his age and has been a member of the senior men's team for the last two years. He was praised for his "courage and determination" to become one of the best in his field.

This is the 11th year of the awards, which was set up by the business group to encourage sporting excellence in the local community and Hammers defender O'Brien said he was impressed by the achievements of those winning awards

"It was good to be here and for those who won, it is a great thing for them to be rewarded for what they have done in whatever sport they do," he said. "All of those I met here have obviously worked hard to do well and so they deserve their awards.

"I was only too happy to come down here and present them, I think if youngsters can see that they can get recognition for trying their best, doing well and working hard, then it will give encouragement to others as well.

"It was also nice to see so many people that are supporting these youngsters, by either running the clubs they belong to or just offering their help, it is good to see and they deserve awards too."

Other winners included Senrab Football Club who has produced several players who have gone to play at the top of their game professionally, such as former Hammers Bobby Zamora and Paul Konchesky.

Cambridge Heath Cricket Club were presented with a Team of the Year award and female boxer Ruqsana Begum won a special achievement award.

John Garwood, Canary Wharf Group company secretary said: "If people have drive and focus, then remarkable things can happen. There is no doubt east London will have some of the best athletes at London 2012."