Athletes of all ages and abilities, covering a wide range of sporting activities, attended the sixth annual Live Borders Celebration of Sport Awards on Friday in the Volunteer Hall, Galashiels.
Once again, the event was ably compered by Radio Borders rugby pundit Stuart McFarlane, whose encyclopaedic knowledge of sport served to entertain and educate the audience throughout the evening.
A total of 12 awards were presented over the 11 categories, with Gordon wheelchair supremo Sammi Kinghorn scooping two – matching her double Gold medal success in the 100 and 200m at last year’s World Championships in London.
The 22-year-old was awarded the Inspirational Performance honour before holding off rugby international duo Stuart Hogg (Hawick) and Ross Ford (Kelso) to the GB Technologies Sports Personality of the Year Award, one of two public vote sections at this year’s awards.
Sammi is currently in Brisbane, Australia, preparing for the Commonwealth Games but mum Elaine was on hand to accept the trophies on her daughter’s behalf. She said: “Sammi had no idea she would be getting this award and she will be so thrilled. The whole family is immensely proud of her. She trains and works so hard to achieve her goals and is really appreciative of the support she receives back home in the Borders.”
The second public vote award went to Hawick Albion Under 16s RFC, following a very closely-fought contest with Hawick Bowling Club Senior Four Scottish Champions and Gala Harriers Juniors.
In season 2016-17, the Albion were undefeated in the Border U16s League and Scottish Youth Cup competitions, as well as the four Border 7s tournaments entered.
Speaking on behalf of the youngsters, team manager Mark Palmer said: “Winning this award will mean a great deal to what is an exceptional bunch of boys.
“I believe being successful breeds success and we are already seeing younger players coming through, looking to emulate what this team has already achieved.”
The Celebration of Sport Awards have become a much-anticipated event on the Borders sporting calendar. Mark Moncrieff, managing director of main sponsor GB Technologies, said: “We are very proud to be here, sponsoring this event once again. Our team at GB Technologies is committed to excellence and going the extra mile and that same drive to exceed expectations is reflected in every one of this year’s nominees.
“These awards are special. Not only do they recognise the wealth of talent among sports men and women within the region but highlight the role of some amazing coaches and events that help to raise both the profile and standard of sport in the Borders.
“All tonight’s nominees should be very proud of themselves and of the part they play in inspiring us all.”
Ewan Jackson, chief executive of Live Borders, added: “These awards celebrate everything that is good about Borders sport and the calibre and diverse range of nominees is, once again, exceptional.
“In 2017, the sporting success stories within our region were at a premium with outstanding performances at global, national as well as local levels.
“All this would not be possible without the backing of schools, clubs, coaches, volunteers, parents, governing bodies and, of course the events themselves, which provide opportunities for people to participate and excel at their level.
“Tonight we celebrate the role and the commitment of these people who collaborate to make sport in the region as successful as it is.”
Among the many highlights of Friday evening’s gathering was the induction of two sporting legends to the Scottish Borders Hall of Fame.
Former Hawick RFC flanker Derrick Grant, who was capped 14 times for Scotland between 1965 and 1968, became one of the latest inductees, along with Selkirk-born Celtic FC and Scotland striker Sandy MacMahon, who received a posthumous induction.
ROLL OF HONOUR:
Sports Personality of the Year (sponsored by GB Technologies) and Inspirational Performance (Astral Hygiene) – Sammi Kinghorn.
Junior Sports Personality (Barrie Knitwear) – Amy Morris.
Coach of the Year – Rob Chrystie.
Junior Coach of the Year – Kirsty Armstrong.
Team of the Year (Border Embroideries) – Hawick Albion U16s RFC.
Club of the Year (Fantasy Prints) – Galashiels Cricket Club.
Event of the Year (Origin Fitness) – Hendersyde Horse Trials.
Disability Sports Personality (Powertec) – Beth Johnston.
Inspirational Performance (Astral Hygiene) – Sammi Kinghorn.
Service to Sport – (HF Mechanical) – Rick Kenney.
Hall of Fame (Endsleigh Insurance) – Derrick Grant and Sandy MacMahon.