A night to celebrate sporting excellence

Group shot of all the winners
Group shot of all the winners

Sporting success, and there was plenty of it, from Tweeddale was recognised on Friday night when the local sports council held its annual awards ceremony.

Staged once again at the Eastgate Theatre in Peebles, the evening was a fitting tribute to a whole range of athletes from the region who have excelled in their chosen sport during the past year.

Commonwealth Games hopeful Chris O’Hare ran out with the Sports Personality of the Year title following his rapid rise to fame on the national athletics circuit last season.

As well as breaking several records in America, where he now trains, Chris won the Scottish Indoor 1500m and Scottish Indoor Mile in 2013, and in doing so became the fastest Scot over those distances.

He set a personal best of 3.35 minutes in the British 1500m Championships and was selected for Team GB for the World Championships in Moscow, becoming the first Scot for over 30 years to progress to the final where he finished 12th.

The highlight of his year was being selected to represent Scotland at the Commonwealth Games in the 1500m.

Chris is currently in the USA, having contract negotiations and training for summer competitions to fulfil, but his father, Terry, collected the award on his behalf, saying: “Chris has asked me to convey to you how much he appreciates this award and for all the local support he receives from West Linton, Peebles and throughout Tweeddale.

“It means a great deal to him and acts as a rich source of motivation.”

Peebles Netball (Team of the Year) achieved dual success on the night with both the senior team and their manager Lynn Hudson (Service to Local Sport) achieving top honours.

There are two Scottish national senior netball titles, Scottish Schools and Scottish Youth Cup, and last season Peebles Netball senior team achieved a first by winning both. Manager Hudson received her award for her dedication to the successful squad. Lynn admits she leaves the coaching to the coaches, but her role involves getting players, coaches, parents and supporters all in the right place at the right time, and all wearing the right kit. She will travel up to 3,000 miles a year around the country just to make sure everybody is in the right place at the right time, leaving them to concentrate on playing netball.

Athletics guru Gregor Nicholson ran away with the Coach of the Year Award. As well as running his own Moorfoots Athletics Club, Gregor has been instrumental in the introduction of Team Borders who, in track and field, have had two spectacularly successful seasons.

Always keen to afford young athletes an opportunity, Gregor has also adopted other, smaller running schools in Innerleithen and Selkirk within the Moorfoot Juniors umbrella so that they, too, get the opportunity to perform on a higher stage.

Fifteen-year-old judoka Rae Anderson took a firm grip of the Junior award, after winning the Band C Scottish Championship title in November last year, while Lorna Caddick sprang the Junior Coach accolade due to her work within the local gymnastics circuit.

Guest of honour, Captain Sir David Younger, Lord Lieutenant of Tweeddale, paid tribute to all the winners on the night, including the 18 athletes who were awarded certificates in recognition of their gaining international honours throughout the year.