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Warrington Sports Personality of 2003 - Helen Dagnall
THELWALL angling ace Helen Dagnall labelled 2003 as the best year of her life' after reeling in the top prize at the Hanover Hotel on Friday night.
The newly crowned Warrington Sports Personality of the Year said: "I couldn't have wished for a better year.
"It's been the best year I've ever had and I don't think I could ever beat it."
Helen, aged 26, reached the pinnacle of her sport in 2003. She retained the world angling champions title with the England team and smashed the championship record at the Embassy Women's National Angling Championships but she did not expect to follow in the footsteps of Warrington sporting greats such as Paul Sculthorpe, Jane Banks and Warren Brown.
Helen considers angling to be a low profile sport and expected a bigger name' to claim the main Warrington Sports Personality of the Year prize, which was sponsored by Chester College.
She said: "I can't believe I've won it because of the standard of the people I was up against.
"I'm delighted to have come out on top though and it's another reward for the hard graft I've put in.
"I have great support from my family and friends and hopefully I will have another great year in 2004 and retain the world and national titles."
Helen, who owns the Cheshire Angling tackle shop in Latchford, added: "Angling doesn't get much publicity but hopefully that will change in the future.
"There are thousands of people who enjoy the sport in this country and if we can continue to win world championships then it will start to get the publicity that it deserves."
Prize list: Twelve months full membership courtesy of David Lloyd Leisure, Warrington; £100 cash courtesy of Warrington Guardian; Super League match day experience and season ticket courtesy of Warrington Wolves; An Asics radio, water bottle, Timex watch, towel and courier bag courtesy of Asics UK; £25 voucher courtesy of Simon One Sport, Birchwood Centre, Warrington; bottle of champagne courtesy of Bargain Booze, Chester Road, Warrington; 12 months subscription to Ultra-Fit Magazine; a trophy; medal courtesy of The Trophy Centre, Reynold Street, Latchford, Warrington.
Finalists: Jane Banks, Rugby League; Christopher Carter, gymnastics; Paul Cullen, Rugby League; Richard Egington, rowing; Michelle Hey, karate; Rebecca Kay, judo; Donna Maclean, gymnastics; Anthony Sproston, golf.
The winner's sporting year...
Angling sensation Helen Dagnall will be taking her chances in catching this year's Warrington Sports Personality of the Year hook line and sinker. Helen has enjoyed a fantastic year as her accolades continue to pile up.
In June, she captured the individual title at the Embassy Women's National Angling Championship and smashed the championship record.
The 26-year-old owner of the Cheshire Angling tackle shop hammered out a superb winning weight of 41.300kg, breaking a section of her pole and a landing net handle in the process.
It was the largest individual weight since the nationals started in 1974. During August, Helen made an immense contribution to the history books with the England squad when they became the first team to retain the title at the Women's World Angling Championships.
Helen outclassed opposition from 14 other nations to win her section on the first day and her form carried over into the second day as she finished higher than the anglers competing for their nearest rivals France.
Since this great success, Helen has undertaken a coaching course so she can pass on her skills to aspiring young anglers at Grappenhall next June and appeared on Sky TV. Helen has also led her local team clear to the top of the league.