RISING-STAR Finnley Kenny stole the show at The News Sports Awards.
That was the opinion of Jed Wallace, himself an award winner in the Pompey player-of-the-year category.
But it was Weir Archer Academy athlete Kenny, who lit up Kings Theatre after scooping the runner-up prize in the outstanding contribution to disabled sport last week.
Wallace tweeted last Thursday: ‘Proud to win Player Of 2014. Thanks to the fans that voted. Safe to say Finnley Kenny stole the show tonight & deservedly so... Amazing kid!’
The Portchester Community College pupil, who has cerebral palsy, claimed first place in the Bupa Great South Run’s junior wheelchair race aged 11, in October.
And the steely determination required to navigate that 2.5k course along Southsea seafront was clear for all to see when Kenny made his way from the crowd and up the steps to the stage by himself.
Using only walking aids, Kenny earned a standing ovation from some members of the audience, before delivering an emotional speech.
‘I felt like I was going to wake up and think it was all a dream,’ said Kenny, from Denmead, on his success.
When asked what it was like to cross the finish line a winner, he replied: ‘Heaven.’
He continued: ‘I remember I felt the adrenaline coming along when I started to warm up and get myself ready.
‘But it was not until the last couple of metres or until I was around the last bend that I thought I had won.’
Finnley’s dad Tom added: ‘I’m very proud of him.
‘He has continued to dedicate himself to training over the winter and he is looking forward to another good season.’