Borders prepares to recognise excellence in sporting world

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THE second Borders Sport & Leisure Celebration of Sport Awards will take place on Friday, February 28 at the MacDonald Cardrona Hotel.

Recognising the achievements of sportsmen and women throughout the Scottish Borders, the awards feature 11 categories ranging from Coach of the Year and Sports Personality of the Year to an award for Service to Sport and for Positive Coaching.

Eight of the awards feature a shortlist whilst three special accolades will made by the judging panel. The winners in three of the awards categories – Sports Personality, Team of the Year and Inspirational Performance of the Year – will be decided by a public vote.

Ewan Jackson, Chief Executive of Borders Sport and Leisure told TheSouthern: “The inaugural Celebration of Sport Awards last year were a huge success.

“These awards aim to showcase the amazing diversity of sporting achievements within the region and also highlight the important role that those behind the scenes play in ensuring the continuing development of sport in the Borders.”

The awards are sponsored by GB Telecom and supported by The Southern Reporter.

Gordon Brown of GB Telecom said: “We are committed to providing excellent levels of service to all our customers throughout the Borders and are keen to support initiatives that also recognise dedication and effort.

“We feel these awards are a brilliant way of helping to motivate people to take part in sport and exercise and play an important role in inspiring our next generation of sporting heroes. As a Borders based company we are really pleased to be able to play a part again this year in enabling them to take place.”

The 2013 award ceremony was hosted by BBC sports presenter Alison Walker and attended by over 160 guests including sporting body representatives, nominees and members of the public. Winners included Gala Harriers - Club of the Year, Peter Gardiner (Judo) - Coach of the Year, Mary Weir (Hockey) - Unsung Hero of the Year, Abby Blackie (Judo) - Junior Sport Personality of the Year and Scott Brash (Horse riding) who picked up the World Achievement Award. Thousands of people voted to determine the winners of Sports Personality of the Year (Chris Paterson), Inspirational Performance of the Year (Callum Airlie) and Team of the Year (Peebles Netball Club). Libby Clegg received a much deserved award for Disability Sports Performance of the Year whilst 1984 rugby grand slam winner, Peter Dods, was inducted into the Scottish Borders Sporting Hall of Fame. Peter said it was a great honour to be recognised by the Borders people, and hailed the awards as a wonderful event.

The Local Sports Councils are also delighted to be supporting the awards.

“Border Sport is fortunate to have a great number of high profile sports stars competing at national and international level, many of these stars started their careers with local clubs supported by local coaches and volunteers. As many of their achievements are recognised, we are delighted to be supporting the evening,” said spokesman Rick Kenny.

All of the award winners/nominees are from, or are based, in the Scottish Borders.

Mr Jackson added: “With the Commonwealth Games fast approaching, it seems very appropriate that we are setting the stage to recognise sporting excellence locally in the Borders.

“Our region benefits not only from very talented athletes but also from dedicated coaches and volunteers who make taking part in a diverse range of sports in the Borders possible and accessible to more and more residents.

“These awards are a great opportunity to thank them and congratulate those who inspire us. I hope that people from all over the Borders will want to come to this event and join the celebration.”

Tickets for the ceremony, which is being organised on a not-for-profit basis, will go on sale through Borders Sport and Leisure.