Borders praised for all-inclusive sporting ethos
Diversity and inclusion were the ultimate winners at last Friday’s Live Borders Celebration of Sport Awards held at Springwood Hall in Kelso.
This was made evident by the many athletes of all ages and abilities in attendance and the wide range of sporting activities which were in line for honours. Over 200 people were present at the event which was ably compered by Radio Borders rugby pundit Stuart McFarlane.
A total of 12 awards were presented over the 11 categories, with Newcastleton’s Libby Clegg scooping two, matching her double Gold medal success at last year’s Paralympic Games in Rio.
The 26-year-old visually impaired sprinter took the Disability Sport Award before pipping rugby 7s supremo Mark Robertson and mountain bike maestro Grant Ferguson to the GB Technologies Sports Personality of the Year Award one of two public vote sections at this year’s awards.
The trio of nominees, along with Peebles Boccia player Patrick Wilson and Libby’s younger brother Steven, a swimmer of good repute, were jointly awarded the Inspirational Performance title following some impressive performances at the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Accepting the awards on behalf of Libby, Mark Gaffney, Opportunities & Events Manager with Scottish Disability Sport, said: “The inclusive nature that comes from Borders sport is amazing.
“The area leads the way with regards to disability sport in many respects, from the work of the Borders Disability Sports Group, in partnership with Live Borders, to the many clubs out there who open their doors to athletes of all ages and abilities, and of course events such as these which recognise the achievements of athletes with disabilities alongside those of all other athletes. “It’s absolutely fantastic to see.”
The second public vote award went to Peebles Hockey following a very closely fought contest with East of Scotland adversaries Kelso Hockey and the Gala Fairydean Disability Football Squad.
Speaking on behalf of her team Peebles Hockey captain Sarah Glendinning said: “As a club struggling to field a team a few seasons ago it is a great honour to be given this award tonight.”
“Our survival and subsequent success is very much down to the hard work and dedication of everyone involved at Peebles Hockey.”
Now in their fifth year the Celebration of Sport Awards have become a much-anticipated event on the Borders Sporting Calendar. Mark Moncrieff, Managing Director of main sponsors GB Technologies, said: “These Awards are very special.
“They not only recognise the wealth of talented sportsmen and women we have in this region but they also play a role in highlighting the amazing coaches, teams and events that are helping to raise both the standard and profile of sport here in the Scottish Borders.”
Ewan Jackson, Chief Executive Live Borders, added: “Here at Live Borders we firmly believe in, and endeavour to advance, the power of sport to promote health and fitness in the local community as well as developing tolerance, respect and social inclusion.
“In many ways these awards recognise the importance of these values and allow us the opportunity to showcase what can be achieved by endorsing them at all levels.”
Among the many highlights of Friday evening’s gathering was the induction of two sporting legends to the Scottish Borders Hall of Fame.
Jedburgh sports commentator Bill Johnstone, who has voiced hundreds of amateur and professional rugby games over a career spanning over 30 years became one of the latest inductees along with Olympic sprint Gold medallist Henry Macintosh who received a posthumous induction.
And the winners are……
Sports Personality of the Year (sponsored by GB Technologies) – Libby Clegg
Junior Sports Personality (Fiona Scott Journalist & PR Services) – Keira Waddell
Coach of the Year (Primitive Media) – Ritchie Gray
Junior Coach of the Year – Millie Turton
Team of the Year (Border Embroideries) – Peebles Hockey
Club of the Year (Fantasy Prints) – Kelso Orchard Tennis Club
Event of the Year (Origin Fitness) – Kelso Races
Disability Sports Personality (Powertec) – Libby Clegg
Inspirational Performance (Astral Hygiene) – Team GB Rio Athletes
Service to Sport – Cissy Redpath
Hall of Fame (Endsleigh Insurance) – Bill Johnstone and Henry Maitland Macintosh