THE achievements of sportsmen and women throughout the Borders are to be celebrated through a new Awards scheme launched by Borders Sport and Leisure (BSL), in partnership with The Southern Reporter.
The BSL Celebration of Sport awards, which will take place on Friday, March 1, at the MacDonald Cardrona Hotel near Peebles, will recognise all forms of sporting excellence.
BSL chief executive Ewan Jackson said: “These awards have been created in recognition of the amazing achievements in sport taking place in our region.
“We want to use them as an opportunity to highlight not only our talented individual sports people, but also the dedicated coaches, schools and other organisations involved in creating a sporting culture in the Borders and encouraging enjoyment, participation and excellence in sport at all levels.”
Last week, a specially-selected panel of experts, chosen by the organisers, consisting of BSL senior sports development officer John McBay, Scotsman journalist David Ferguson, former editor of the Border Telegraph and freelance journalist Atholl Innes, Radio Borders sports broadcaster Stuart McFarlane and myself on behalf of TheSouthern – which will act as media partner for the event – held their first meeting.
The panel will determine the winners in some of the specialist categories while Team of the Year, Sports Personality of the Year and Inspirational Personality of the Year will feature a list of nominees, also chosen by the panel, with the final winners being decided by public vote (details of which will be released in February). The award winners will be announced at the glittering ceremony and dinner in March.
Panellist David Ferguson told TheSouthern: “The Borders has one of the richest sporting histories of any region I have ever visited and I believe that recognising and celebrating achievement plays a huge part in inspiring current and future generations, and so this celebration of sport is fundamental to retaining and building on that.
“I am delighted to be associated with it and I know, with the planning that has gone in already, it will be a great success.”
And Stuart McFarlane told us: “I think this presents a great opportunity to illustrate this region’s commitment to sport.
“Sporting accomplishments by individuals and teams from the Borders has always generated a sense of local pride.
“Over the last 12 months the list of notable achievements is sizeable. These awards will recognise the achievements of just some of the many people who dedicate so much time to their chosen sport, with some working across many disciplines.”
The categories in the BSL Celebration of Sport Awards are: Disability Sports Performance of the Year; School Sport Award; Coach of the Year; Sports Club of the Year; Sporting Event of the Year; Sports Personality of the Year; Sports Team of the Year; Inspirational Personality of the Year; Unsung Hero of the Year; Induction to Scottish Borders Sporting Hall of Fame.
Mr Jackson continued: “These awards give Borderers the chance to vote for homegrown talent.
“I hope that not only people in the sports sector, but also local businesses and members of the public, will want to attend the ceremony and play a part in supporting and recognising the fantastic range of achievements in the region.”
Tickets for the event, which is being organised on a non-profit basis, go on sale via BSL this week.