Samantha Kinghorn’s remarkable year in wheelchair athletics was recognised on Friday evening when she was presented with Berwickshire’s Sports Personalty of the Year Award.
The annual awards, held by ClubSport Berwickshire (formerly Berwickshire Sports Council) were held at Duns Golf Club and in attendance was the cream of the area’s sporting talent.
The event was hosted by David Douglas, chairman of ClubSport Berwickshire who welcomed the award winners and guests to the ceremony.
The main award is that of Sports Personality of the Year and Paralympic wheelchair athlete Samantha Kinghorn from Gordon was the popular winner.
Sammi is a fast developing young Scottish athlete who first began wheelchair racing in 2012. She was a member of the Scottish Commonwealth Games squad and has established herself around the world top 10 in her disability class in 2013 and has been named in the British Athletics World Class Potential Plan and finished the 2013 season with a massive 10k road PB of 27.39.
Also in 2013 she was named as the Young Scot Sports Person of the Year.
Sammi has had a remarkable 2014 finishing fifth in the Commonwealth Games 1500m final in Glasgow in front of 50,000 screaming Scottish fans.
She then went on to win three gold medals in the European IPC championships in Swansea wearing the GB vest for the first time. Sammi won gold in the T53 100m, 400m and 800m to complete a remarkable Great Britain international debut for the teenage prodigy.
Already Sammi has competed in glamorous locations such as the United Arab Emirates, Portugal, Switzerland and...Grangemouth! However, it’s not all glamour as she can be regularly seen pushing out laps in all weather conditions around the track at Tweedbank. She trains six days a week sometimes starting at 6am.
Away from the track, she was named as an athlete ambassador for the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. Sammi is also part of the “Champions in Schools” Project, regularly visiting schools and inspiring youngsters to get involved in sport.
Her most recent achievement was yet another fine performance in Portugal over the weekend. Sammi was invited to take part in the wheelchair race at the Lisbon half marathon and duly won the event. It was Sammi’s first attempt at the distance and her time of 60.00 is a Scottish best.
Sammi can now look forward to the World Championships with optimism and she must also be very hopeful of being selected for the Rio 2016 Paralympics.
Junior Sports Personality of the Year is Caitlin Black.
To describe this Chirnside youngster as an ‘all-rounder’ in sport would be an understatement. At just 11-years-old Caitlin is excelling in no fewer than four fields - football, boxing, judo and athletics.
After being selected to join the Hearts under 13s set up, Caitlin is a regular with the first 11 that is dominating girls football in Scotland. She makes the score sheet more often than not and is well on the way to being Chirnside’s next footballing export to the big time.
And although football is perhaps her main passion, her hard work has also paid off in the boxing ring. The only female member of Chirnside Boxing Club, Caitlin this year struck gold at the Eastern District Schoolboy, Youth and Junior Championships in Edinburgh, earning herself a prestigious regional title after defeating Shaira Robertson of Broxburn in three one-minute rounds.
Caitlin is also an active member of the Foulden-based East March Judo club and in February she won a silver medal at the Ultimate Open Championships in Edinburgh.
Never one to rest on her laurels, and perhaps feeling she didn’t have enough to do, Caitlin took up the shot put in June. But already she’s a national medallist after impressing at the Scottish Age Group Championships in Aberdeen just two months after taking up the sport. She threw a new personal best of 7m61 take the bronze medal.
Team of the Year are Gordon Football Club.
The 2013/14 season was a very memorable one for the club.
The team secured the Border Amateur ‘B’ Division title with a convincing 3-0 win over Biggar but, more importantly, it completed an amazing treble for the Berwickshire club, the team having already won the Walls Cup and Wright Cup.
But this was not a unique achievement - for Gordon completed the very same treble exactly 50 years previously, when they won the Walls Cup, Wright Cup and also clinched their league title.
In 2013-14 Gordon played 41 games in league and cups, scoring 168 goals in total, 100 of which were in the league.
This success comes just a year after the club returned to the Border Amateur League having been forced to take time out due to a lack of players.
On their first season back they won promotion from the ‘C’ Division and have now clinched their place back in the top league.
This is a superb achievement and is all down to the hard work of the players, manager and committee.
Coach of the Year went to Henry Gray from Coldingham.
2014 has been the pinnacle of the coaching career of Henry Gray working with top class athletes Guy Learmonth, Maria Lyle, Cameron Tindle, Nathan Cox and other up and coming athletes like Rory Williams and Jamie Kinghorn.
Guy Learmonth set the ball rolling in January when he won the prestigious Glasgow indoors grand prix, taking the scalps of world championship finalists Jon Mutai of Kenya and Andrew Osagie of Great Britain. Learmonth broke the Scottish senior record which had stood for 40 years and had been held by Olympic athlete David Jenkins.
There was much more to come though from the young Berwick middle distance star and he went on to make the Commonwealth Games 800m final in Glasgow finishing in a superb sixth.
Maria Lyle started the year in Dubai with a new world Paralympic 200m record in the T35 category, a record which had been held by the Chinese athlete and double Paralympic champion in London 2012 Ping Liu since 2005.
Maria went on to smash the world record on numerous occasions in both the 100m and 200m including a remarkable double world record at Bedford in June where within three hours she smashed both 100 and 200 records.
Maria then went on to become the European Paralympic champion in both the 100m and 200m and established herself as the clear favourite for the Paralympic double in Rio in 2016.
Junior Coach of the Year was awarded to Coldstream’s Zara Lunn.
The three coaches from Berwickshire Netball Club all left the club at the end of last summer. With no one to coach the 30+ girls who were still wanting to play netball, Zara has taken over the training, three hours/week. She also picks squads and deals with handing out and getting back in the team kit and helping out to umpire at games when she can. Zara has also given up a lot of her own time to develop and help the netball by attending a course over three days to gain her UKCC Level 1 Netball coach qualification, first aid and a Positive Coaching Scotland workshop
Since August of this year she has given up over 80 hours of her time to help the netball club going.
Without this work being put in the school and community would not have the netball club.
Zara has also been taking a primary netball session for the P5-7 pupils on top of the secondary sessions she has also been leading.
Eyemouth’s John Purves received the Service to Local Sport Award.
John first became involved in athletics in 1988 working with Eyemouth Athletic Club as an assistant coach.
He soon rose to the role of club coach working alongside George Taylor, Mike Felton, and David Millar.
Eyemouth produced some very successful field event athletes when John was a coach with Lee Anne Crombie and Lee Anne Donaldson both representing Scotland in the javelin and shot putt.
John attended a number of coaching clinics and seminars in the early 90s and he worked with some of Scotland’s top field event coaches. At the same time John was taking a special interest in officiating and combining the role of a coach and official, often at the same meeting.
He has held the position of chairman of the Scottish Borders Athletics committee and Eyemouth Athletics Club and was also a team coach/official for the Borders when they travelled to Northern Ireland for a three way competition against Dumfries and Galloway-Northern Ireland and Scottish Borders and this became an annual fixture for many years.
One of the highlights of John’s career so far was officiating at the World Veteran Games at Gateshead in 1999.
John has risen to be a grade four official (now called 2 C level) and is a qualified referee and be clerk of the course. He specialises in field events and his job covers a wide spectrum from weighing the implements to measuring distances and recording times.
John has been an official at all levels of competition from Scottish women’s/men’s league to Scottish senior and age group championships, Scottish universities and many more.
This year John had the honour of officiating at the Sainsbury Grand Prix in Glasgow with many of the world’s top stars in action.
John also was on the backroom staff at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games. Special awards for their achievements in 2014 were awarded to the following:
Euan Thorburn (rallying) - The Duns rally driver has enjoyed an outstanding year at the wheel of his Ford Focus WRC. Co-driven by Paul Beaton from Inverness, Euan ended 2013 by being crown BTRDA Rally Champion south of the border after winning the final round in November.
A week or so later he went on to win the coveted Wales Rally GB national rally - a tremendous achievement.
Euan started this year’s Scottish Championship campaign on a winning note, storming to victory in the Snowman Rally in February. He went on to win the Granite City Rally and the Merrick Rally and finished second in the Border Counties, Scottish and Speyside rallies.
Last weekend in Perth Euan won the McRae Stage Rally and in doing so was crowned the 2014 Scottish Rally Champion with one round still to go.
Reece Wilson (mountain biking) - After taking up cycling to recover from surgery to his leg, 18-year-old Reece Wilson, from Gordon, from has recently been crowned British downhill mountain biking junior men’s champion.
Reece’s first mountain bike downhill race was at Innerleithen in the summer of 2012 which he won. Two years later, in his first year of competing on the bigger stage, he has a national championship under his belt and a tenth place finish in the World Downhill Series.
As part of his post surgery recovery Reece did some cross country cycling and downhill riding at Glentress and it was soon apparent that he excelled in the downhill racing.
He won his first race in the Mini Downhill Series at Innerleithen, and won overall in August 2012.
This year Reece competed in four of the five British Downhill Series Races this year and after chalking up two wins, one second and one third place he was crowned champion following the last round of the British events on at the Bike Park in Cardiff.
Joyce Mark (triathlon) - Eyemouth’s Joyce Mark has been at world class level in the sport of Triathlon since 1999 when she won the first of her world titles in Montreal in Canada.
Joyce then went on to win the World Duathlon title in Calais in France in 2000 and also the silver medal at the World Triathlon Championships in Perth Australia. More recently she has maintained that fine standard by winning the European Sprint Triathlon title in 2012 in Israel, the World gold in London in 2013 and European gold in Alayna in Turkey.
This year Joyce kept up that winning streak by winning the gold medal at the European Championships in Kitzbuhel, Austria, and she finished off the season by taking a silver medal in the World Championships in Edmonton, Canada.
Carolyn Allison and Moira Anderson (hockey) - Masters hockey is now very much part of the world hockey calendar, which was evident by the number of countries represented at the recent Masters Tournament played in the Netherlands at the same time as the FIH World Cup.
In the Scotland over 45s squad for this event were three Borders veterans, one of them being Carolyn Allison from Duns. Scotland played well and ended up taking the bronze medal. Carolyn also played for her country in the Home Nations Masters Tournament in Swansea.
Moira Anderson, also from Duns, was selected for the Scottish Masters over 55’s team.
She travelled to Aldershot to play a Touring Australian team and was capped again for Scotland during the Home Nations Tournament in Swansea.
Isaac Weir and Jodie Black (badminton) - Duns Badminton Club members Jodie and Isaac are receiving a special award this year for there outstanding performances at the Scottish age group championships. For the first time in Scottish badminton history two members from the same badminton club (Duns), won all four Scottish under 11 singles and doubles titles - a truly remarkable achievement.
Chirnside Primary School (athletics) - In October 2013 three young athletes, Jamie Kinghorn, Ben Reynolds and Rory Williams, represented Chirnside Primary School and won the Scottish Primary Schools Road Relay Championships. In April this year all three boys, along with Robbie Paulin, also represented the school in the Scottish Primary Schools Cross Country Championships finishing a superb third.