FOR OUR top sporting talents, lifting a Sports Award usually comes after a long journey full of dedication, commitment and hard work.
That’s certainly the case for taekwondo ace Ben Haines, from Horndean.
Getting to the ceremony itself proved a major obstacle for the runner-up in the 2012 young sportsman of the year category.
The 18-year-old was competing in Sweden on Sunday and faced a race against time to fly back on Monday and make the start of the glitzy show at Ferneham Hall in Fareham.
Everything seemed to be going to plan as his plane landed at Stansted and he was quickly on to the M11.
But when his name was announced as runner-up, Haines was nowhere to be seen.
Luckily his sister Lauren was on hand to take to the stage and collect the prize.
A flat tyre on the motorway had put the brakes on progress, leaving him stranded as the snow came down.
Haines said: ‘It was crazy. We got out of Stansted Airport and got on to the M11, then we started hearing this funny sound from the back of the car.
‘We pulled over and had a look and the tyre had gone. There was no spare tyre, just a little puncture kit.
‘As we went to plug it in the valves popped up.
‘So we had to call out the RAC and wait there for about an hour and 20 minutes in the snow and the freezing cold.’
Despite the drama, Haines was able to make the end of the ceremony and was called on to the stage by presenter Fred Dinenage.
‘It’s a big, big thing to me. I got to meet some great people,’ added Haines.
‘I used to watch Fred on the news all the time when I was little.
‘Olivia (Breen) who won the two awards is a really, really nice girl and the judo player, Sam (Potts), who won the award and the boxer, Greg (Bridet).
‘They are really good athletes who are going through the same thing as me.’