Adekanmi Abayomi, an asylum seeker who came from Nigeria has emerged BBC Sport NI’s 2020 Unsung Hero Award winner. The Nigerian won the award as a result of his active work in encouraging people from ethnic minorities to engage in sport through his Ethnic Minority Sports Organisation Northern Ireland group (EMSONI).
Kanmi is highly passionate about how sport can aid integration of ethnic minorities in communities.
Also, he is a qualified football coach, handball coach and referee.
He will represent Northern Ireland as a member of the 15 regional finalists for the overall Unsung Hero Award when the winner will be announced live on BBC One on December 20.
While talking about the award he won, he said: “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.”
Adekanmi works all over Northern Ireland by encouraging and promoting the significance of sport at grassroot level. He also inspires others to take part in sports and help curb racial inequality in sport.
He teaches people walking football two times a week and facilitated the establishment of the Walking Football Federation which now has two teams from ethnic minority backgrounds in Northern Ireland.
One of the highly successful initiatives put in place by Adekanmi happens to be the 2019 Northern Ireland Confederations Cup, a football tournament that brought together teams from 12 communities in Northern Ireland.
By involving in EMSONI, he had the opportunity to encourage people of different ages and backgrounds to participate in sport.
While talking further, he said: “The attitude of helping society has always been part of me.
“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.”
Adekanmi organised the first Ethnic Minority Sports Leadership Summit in 2019 and he was appointed to the board of the Northern Ireland Sport and Human Rights Forum.