Sporting stars from the Roxburgh area were honoured on Friday night when the final ClubSport Awards of the season took place in Hawick’s Buccleuch Bowling Club.
ClubSport Roxburgh chairman Norman Anderson led the proceedings that saw 10 individuals and organisations recognised for their efforts within sport and in keeping the region more physically active.
Addressing the large continent there to support the event Mr Anderson firstly paid tribute to Hawick Athlete Leon Ali who died in a car accident the previous week.
“A talented sportsman who will be a huge miss,” he said.
Mr Anderson continued: “Once again we have had some huge success stories in our region over the past year and that is down to the hard work of the athletes themselves and the many people who give their time and effort to coach and support them.”
Making a big splash on the night was Kelso swimmer Ryan Brown who was named 2016 ClubSport Roxburgh Sports Personality of the Year.
After a fairly average start to the season the former Borders Elite Swim Team (BEST) and Kelso ASC member really came into his own in April when he took Silvers in 200 fly and 400 individual medley at the Scottish Age Group Championships before notching a Gold with his City of Glasgow Swim Team teammates in the 4 x 100 medley relay.
At the Target Tokyo Olympic Trials Ryan had an outstanding swim in the final of the 200 fly to win by over 1.4 seconds. Because of this swim he was selected to represent Great Britain at the European Junior Championships in Hungary where he finished just outside the top 10 in both the 200 fly and 4 x 100 medley relay.
Next up was the British Championships in Sheffield at the end of July and once again the Borderer finished top 10 in the 400 IM and 100 fly and took the title of British Champion in 200 Fly, narrowly missing a Scottish record but beating his opponents by over a second and consolidating his position as British No 1. He was awarded top junior performer of the year by Scottish Swimming for his age group.
Currently studying sports science at Glasgow University the 18-year-old paid tribute to the many organisations in the Borders and his coach Ian Wright who have helped him both financially and in terms of his performance.
“I’m really happy to have been given this award. These last couple of years have been a bit of a rollercoaster in terms of my swimming.
“I had a tough year and then moved up to Glasgow and things began to improve again.
“I have had a lot of great support in the Borders which has helped me on my way to this improvement.”
Ryan’s focus now will be towards the Commonwealth Games trials next year.
“I know what I have to do and I have five months to work on that,” he added.
“I just have to work hard and do it.
Ryan’s former BEST teammate Kirsty Armstrong, 17, took the Junior Coach of the Year title having made a huge impact since taking over as head coach at her local club Kelso ASC.
Riding high in the Equestrian Vaulting arena Kelso’s Minta Younger, 12, was given the Junior Sports Personality award after winning every national competition she entered for her age group, apart from one where she came second, over the last year including the Scottish and British Championships, as a result she is now ranked first female in Britain for her age.
Kelso Orchard Tennis Club proved a big hit among the judging panel. The club won the Team of the Year award while Kate Bull picked up the Coach of the Year title for her work not only at the Kelso club but with Tennis Borders also.
Rounding off a hat-trick for the tennis club was head honcho David Laing who was awarded the Scottish Association of Local Sports Councils Service to Sport trophy for his unstinting service to sport not only in the Borders but all over Scotland.
Double Paralympic Gold medallist Libby Clegg, from Newcastleton, was named Disability Athlete of the Year while Derek McLachlan (Jed Legion AFC), Christine Wylie (Jedburgh Badminton Club) and John Taylor (Jedburgh Bowling Club) all received Special Recognition awards for all the hard work and dedication they have put into their sports over many years.