FOR the second year in succession, Jersey representatives make up just 25% of the shortlist for the Channel Islands Sports Personality of the Year.
That honour goes to gymnast Daniel Lee, whose captivating performance at the 2022 Commonwealth Games earned him seventh in the rings final and sixth in the all-round final.
He is up against a trio of Sarnians for the annual CI honour, in the shape of Manchester United and England footballer Maya Le Tissier and a pair of Commonwealth Games medallists – 400m hurdler Alastair Chalmers and bowler Lucy Beere, who earned bronze and silver respectively in Birmingham.
Last year, Jersey’s men’s cricket captain Chuggy Perchard took home the top prize as the only Caesarean in the voting.
Could lightning strike twice?
For Lee, just being invited to next Thursday’s celebration evening, alongside a group of strong Guernsey contenders, is ‘humbling’.
He said: ‘It certainly wasn’t even a nomination that was on my radar.
‘The other nominees are fantastic and all had some excellent results last year.
‘I can’t honestly say I am expecting to win, but for me, just to be recognised among some brilliant athletes is an incredible feeling.’
While the focus is very much on the year to come, Lee confessed that the nomination has allowed him to take some valuable time to reflect on his breakthrough year.
‘It’s quite strange as an athlete, in that you never really spend too much time looking at what has gone,’ he said.
‘As important as it is not to get trapped in the past, it can be very beneficial to look back and see how far you have progressed.
‘Last year was an incredibly special one for me, with lots of positives to take away.
‘It’s only when I took that time to look over the year, that I realised I achieved quite a lot.
‘Some of the memories I have from last year, and especially the Commonwealth Games, will live with me forever.’
Following a successful Games in Birmingham, Lee decided to venture outside his comfort zone once again, travelling to Germany to compete in the 2 Bundesliga Süd Meister as part of team VfL Kirchheim unter Teck.
Each club team are allowed just one elite international gymnast in their squad, placing a large amount of pressure on Lee.
But the Caesarean flourished, finishing the campaign second overall and helping his side to the title.
He said: ‘It was really tough to be honest.
‘The pressure of being part of a team’s success is not something I am used to.
‘It was such a great experience exposing myself to that environment and pressure and I think it will stand me in good stead looking forward to this season.’