GALASHIELS, SCOTLAND - August 06: (Photo by Rob Gray / Freelance)

Elite youngsters set goals at Sports Academy

Young athletes from across the Borders converged at the Heriot Watt Campus in Galashiels last week for three days of top performance coaching at the 17th Scottish Borders Sports Academy.

Designed to replicate a professional multi-sports training camp, similar to those attended by top athletes as part of their development, this year’s Academy covered seven different sports: athletics, cycling, football, hockey, rugby, swimming and tennis.

A total of 112 youngsters were given the chance to work with both regional and national coaches and to interact with elite athletes from other sports through training sessions, coaching activities and workshops.


Ran by Live Borders the Academy provides a first taste of a multi-sport residential camp.

Live Borders’ Scottish FA Development Officer Drew Kelly, who coordinated the event, believes the Academy is a great example of sports development in the Scottish Borders working in partnership with national governing bodies towards creation of great athletes of the future.

“The format of bringing together athletes and coaches from different fields is considered to be highly productive and many former Borders Sports Academy participants have gone on to perform at national and international level,” he said.

“The aim of the Academy is to nurture young athletes and help develop their skills to the next level. I look forward to seeing the athletes that have been present this week go on to reach their sporting goals in the future.”

Former participants who have already made a big impact on their chosen sports include Sarah Robertson (Scotland and GB Hockey player), Emily Newlands (U21 Scottish Hockey), Ruaridh Howarth and Gregor Hunter (Edinburgh Rugby and Glasgow Warriors respectively), Chris O’Hare (GB Athletics), Danny Galbraith (Manchester United & Hibs) and Lucy Hope (Scotland & GB Swimming).”

Among the many good wishes sent via the Live Borders SD Twitter page was a special video message from five times Paralympic swimming Gold medallist Ellie Simmonds who said: “Have fun, enjoy yourself, work hard, train hard and learn to be a good team player.”

At the end of a packed sporting week all Academy participants gathered in Gala RFC’s Netherdale Clubrooms for the traditional Sports Academy Awards Ceremony during which Cllr Euan Jardine, Executive Member for Culture and Sport, presented medals to athletes who had shown outstanding effort over the three days.

Tilly Lakie, 12, from Duns, picked up the Swimming Award and said, “The camp  has been really good and I really enjoyed it.

“I met lots of new people and my technique has come on a lot in the three days that I have been here.”

Live Borders Sports Development Manager, John McBay, thanked all those involved in the Academy including the coaching teams, parents, young participants and all the behind the scenes staff who helped to organise the event.

“This event doesn’t happen overnight, it takes about seven to eight months of planning,” he said.

“It is an inspiration to the participants but likewise their enthusiasm and effort inspires the coaches too.”

The 2018 Sports Academy Most Valuable Player (MVP) Awards were given to – Kate Harvey (Athletics), Ben Allan (Cycling), James Paxton (Football), Livvy Hogg (Hockey), Jessica Kirkhope (Rugby), Tilly Lakie (Swimming) and Alexander Hart (Tennis). The Sports Academy Class of 2018 Award went to the Rugby Squad.

Heading up events for Live Borders were: Neil Renton (Athletics), Chris Bryant (Cycling), Lee Makel and Greig Shortreed (Football), Sarah Glendinning (Tennis), Robbie McMorran (Hockey), Alan Oliver (Swimming), Josh Thomson (Tennis) and John McBay (Sports Development Manager).

Live Borders is a charity. Every penny you spend with us is reinvested into supporting active, creative and healthy communities in the Scottish Borders.