Nigerian man named BBC Sport NI’s Unsung Hero
Adekanmi Abayomi, a Nigerian man seeking asylum in the United Kingdom, has won BBC Sport NI’s 2020 Unsung Hero Award for his work in encouraging people from ethnic minorities to play sport.
Abayomi founded Ethnic Minority Sports Organisations Northern Ireland (EMSONI) to driving sport participation to all ethnic minorites across Northern Ireland.
“I really didn’t expect this award. It came as a shock to me, so I am really excited and happy about it. This will be in my memory for a long time,” he told BBC.
His involvement with EMSONI sees him encouraging people of all ages and backgrounds to play sport – whether that is through the day-to-day operations of booking pitches, organising taster sessions for women’s swimming, organising cricket taster sessions, handball or badminton.
“The attitude of helping society has always been part of me,” Abayomi said.
“My purpose here in Northern Ireland through sport is to help my community to break barriers to sport participation, and to see how we can address racial inequalities in sport.
“It is important that we use sport in moving society forward. Sport has a lot to do in terms of changing society for better.”
Abayomi is a qualified football and handball coach and referee.
Adekanmi will represent Northern Ireland as one of the 15 regional finalists for the overall Unsung Hero Award, with the winner being announced live on BBC One on 20 December.