Humberside Paralympian Celebrated for Sporting Spirit

Paralympian Chris Skelley has been recognised as part of UK Sport’s annual high-performance awards. 

Skelley, who grew up in Hull, won the Spirit of High-Performance award at the PLx Awards, hosted by UK Sport, alongside teammate Jack Hodgson. 

With the 2024 Paralympic Games in Paris just around the corner, the PLx Awards 2023 are a celebration of outstanding achievements by those who have contributed to making extraordinary sporting moments happen over the last year.

VI Judokas Skelley and Hodgson were jointly presented with the prestigious honour at an awards ceremony on 28 November in Stratford-upon-Avon. The pair were recognised following impressive success throughout their careers in which they have both displayed powerfully positive values, harnessing the true power and connection of sport. The award was given in recognition of their partnership, friendship and support despite the challenges faced throughout the current Paralympic cycle. 

Skelley and Hodgson have been best friends since they met at the England Talent programme over a decade ago, and have since gone on to be best men at each other’s weddings, with Skelley becoming godfather to Hodgson’s daughter.

The duo represented ParalympicsGB at both the 2016 and 2020 Paralympic Games, with Skelley securing gold at Tokyo 2020. Both Judokas have deteriorating eyesight and a hearing impediment. 

Ahead of next year’s Paralympics, new weight classifications mean the two are now in direct competition for a spot in Paris and last year were drawn against each other for the first time in the 2022 European Paralympic Championships.

Picture by Allan McKenzie/ – 28/11/2023 – Commercial – UK Sport PLx 2023 – Crowne Plaza Hotel, Stratford-upon-Avon, England – Jack Hodgson & Chris Skelley share the Spirit of High Performance Award.

Following the award, Skelley said:

“We just get each other – I call him my Judo husband – but he’s my teammate, he’s my brother. It’s heartbreaking that one of us can’t go [to the Paralympics] but whatever happens, I will be the best support for him. I want the best for him, he means the world to me. When I started this journey 10/11 years ago, I never thought I’d meet someone like him. We’ve been all around the world together, we’ve been at our lowest points together and we’ve been at our highest points together. I’m very lucky to share a mat with him and call him my training partner and my brother-in-arms.

“To be able to share this journey with him means everything and to have the support of British Judo, The National Lottery, UK Sport who believed in me and Jack and the team to let us go round and represent our country is a massive honour. I’m just very grateful for everything they’ve supported us with.”

The PLx Awards celebrated the high-performance sporting community in the UK and their contributions as an individual, team, sport, or event during 2023. The winners were announced at an awards ceremony in Stratford-upon-Avon on 28 November.

To find out more about the PLx Awards, hosted by UK Sport and powered by The National Lottery, visit

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