ClubSport Berwickshire celebrated all that was great about local athletic achievement over the past year last Friday night.
And there was much to rejoice as the region’s top performers, coaches and those who work tirelessly behind the scenes, were honoured at their annual awards ceremony.
Duns golf club was bursting at the seams with sporting talent covering a diverse range of activities, along with those who selflessly give their time and commitment to make sure our athletes have the support networks in place to reach the top of their game.
Gordon wheelchair racer Sammi Kinghorn was one of many in attendance who has already achieved world class status in her sport, and, was named Sports Personality of the Year for her efforts.
Sammi’s main achievements over the past two years include reaching the final in all four of her events (100m, 200m, 400m, 800m) when representing GB at the World Championships in Doha where she scooped a Bronze medal in the 200m; winning the Great Scottish Run 10k wheelchair race; receiving the Rotary Young Citizen of the Year Award in early 2016 and was a finalist in the Scotswoman of the Year Awards; break several European records and make all her finals at the Rio Olympics.
Back on home soil Sammi completed her only road race of the season at the Jedburgh 10k where she recorded a time of 22.00 when winning the race, the fastest ever 10k time by a British woman and a Scottish best time by either a male or female wheelchair racer.
“I do my sport because I love it, not to get awards, but it’s always nice to know that all the hard work and effort you are putting in is actually being noticed by people,” she told us.
Recently Sammi received the Scottish Women in Sport Role Model Award recognising the work that she does with children and young people, charities, disabled ex-servicemen and teachers, coaches and students.
“I still get a bit embarrassed when people call be a role model or anything like that because in my mind it’s just me, doing what I do and enjoying it,” she added.
In 2017 the World Championships are a “home” event and Sammi is already deep into winter training in preparation for London where she hopes to compete over 100m, 200m, 400m and 800m before turning her attention to Commonwealth Games qualifying over 1500m and marathon.
Friday night’s celebration was ably compered by ClubSport Berwickshire chairman David Douglas who, unbeknown to him, was also on the 2016 role of honour. Fellow committee member Henry Gray surprised the Duns RFC stalwart at the end of the night by announcing that he was a winner of the Scottish Association of Local Sports Council’s Service to Sport Award.
David, who has dedicated 40 years of his life to a wide variety of sporting activities in the Berwickshire area, said: “It was a lovely surprise although I was slightly embarrassed about it.
“I had no idea whatsoever about it so a lot of people must have been working away behind the scenes.
“As a former PE teacher I was always involved in sport. That involvement carried over into extra- curricular activities and made me want to get involved in a variety of sports.”
Gymnastics coach Debbie Couch was also given a SALSC award in recognition of her efforts which have saw participation at Berwick Gymnastics Club grow from four to 200 in its 15-year existence.
Athletics in Berwickshire have always been of a high standard but this year it was the technical event of javelin throwing that spearheaded the honours rather than the track stars.
Throwers Alexandra Vallance and Keira Waddell were both in receipt of awards along with their coach Alex McGregor, who commented: “The girls have progressed even quicker than I thought they would and I’m absolutely delighted that their hard work and dedication is now paying off.”
Berwickshire High School bagged a brace of awards when their Young Coach Group received the Junior Coach of the Year nomination and the highly successful BHS Karting Team took the Team honours.
Winners at a glance
Sports Personality of the Year - Sammi Kinghorn (wheelchair racing); Junior Sport’s Personality of the Year - Keira Waddell (javelin); Coach of the Year - Alex McGregor (javelin); Junior Coach of the Year - Berwickshire High School Young Coach Group; Team of the Year - Berwickshire High School Karting Team; SALSC Award for Service to Local Sport - Debbie Couch (gymnastics) and David Douglas.
Special Achievement Awards: Patrick Anderson (rugby); Marcus D’Agrosa (distance running); Liz Dickson (bowling); Joyce Mark (triathlon); Garry Pearson and Robbie Mitchell (rallying); Kendal Smith (gymnastics); Sandy Thompson (horse racing) Alexandra Vallance (javelin).