Sports fans, clubs, sporting bodies and schools throughout Northern Ireland have been urged to nominate their top sporting stars for 2017 with the launch of the Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards.

The prestigious awards honour Northern Ireland’s top sporting achievers in both the amateur and professional arenas.

The gala ceremony, which attracts some of our most famous and successful sporting heroes, will take place at Belfast’s Waterfront Hall on Monday 29th January 2018. Sports presenter Craig Doyle is returning to host the show for a second year alongside fellow TV presenter Claire McCollum.

The Sports Awards celebrate the outstanding achievements of local sports people from grassroots to elite sport and the public can nominate in each of the 13 categories by sending an email of no more than 750 words to events@belfasttelegraph.co.uk.  The 2017 awards are supported by category sponsors, Active Financial Life, Celerion, Better, Decathlon, Electric Ireland and Volvo.

When nominating please include the name of the person or team you are putting forward for consideration, the reasons why you feel they should win an award and the category you believe they should be included in as well as your own contact details.  For more details on categories and criteria visit www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/sportsawards2017.

The closing date for nominations is December 4, 2017. Nominations will be judged and shortlisted during December and finalists will be invited to come along to the glittering awards evening.

As well as the coveted Sports Star of the Year title, category awards include Manager/Coach of the Year, won last time by Northern Ireland boss Michael O’Neill, Young Team and Young Player of the Year, the Malcolm Brodie Player of the Year, Local Heroes and Sportsperson with a Disability.

Other categories are the Special Recognition Award, George Best Breakthrough, Team of the Year and the WJ ‘Paddy’ Patterson Award for services to Sport presented by the NI Sports Forum.

New for this year is the Game Changer award sponsored by Electric Ireland which recognises an individual woman (18 and over) who has made an impact on the Northern Ireland sporting