One of Scotland’s greatest ever female Olympians, rower Katherine Grainger MBE, was named Scottish Sportsperson of the Year and awarded the ‘Emirates Lonsdale Trophy’ at the Commonwealth Games Scotland’s Awards Dinner in Glasgow tonight, and is the first woman to win the title. The dinner was held in association with Clydesdale Bank and the award is for performances between 18 September 2008 and 17 September 2009.
In 2009 Katherine switched from the quadruple sculls, in which she won a silver medal at the Beijing Olympic Games, to the single sculls. Her outstanding performance of 2009 was winning a silver medal at the World Championships after less than a season racing single sculls and followed a win in an earlier World Cup event. Before this, Katherine had led the women’s quad to three successive world titles, giving Katherine herself four world golds and a bronze.
These latest performances highlight some ten years of dedication and achievement in GB Rowing’s international squad and Katherine is the first British female athlete in any discipline to medal in three successive Olympic Games. This record makes here the clear successor to Steve Redgrave and Matthew Pinsent as the figurehead of the GB rowing team. She is Honorary President of the Scottish Amateur Rowing Association and Patron of the Central Scotland Institute of Sport, among the many other voluntary roles she carries out.
Accepting the Award Katherine Grainger said: “The Commonwealth Games Awards dinner is always a wonderful celebration of Scottish sport, and I believe it is in great shape right now, with some fantastic performances across a range of sports. It is fabulous to win this award and it is the icing on the cake for my first season in the single sculls. Many thanks to Emirates for their continued support.”
In second place was Andy Murray. Currently World Number 4 and Britain’s number 1 ranked player, Andy reached the heights of Number 2 player in the World during the 2009 season before succumbing to injury in the latter part of the season. Over the last year he has won no less than 10 ATP singles titles having beaten all the top players including Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Andy Roddick and Novak Djockovic.
Closer to home Andy was a memorable winner at Queens and semi finalist at The Wimbledon Open Championships.
In third place was gymnast Daniel Keatings. In April 2009 Daniel was selected for the Senior European championships in Milan – Italy, where he won a silver in the All Around final, Britain’s first ever All Around medal in a major championships and a bronze on the pommel horse. In 2006 competed for Scotland at the Melbourne Commonwealth Games and in 2008 was selected to represent GB in the Olympic games in Beijing – China, where he qualified for the All around final finishing 20th and narrowly missing the Pommel final finishing 9th .
Completing an impressive short list was judo player Sarah Clark and swimmer Hannah Miley.
Announcing the award Michael Cavanagh, Chairman of Commonwealth Games Scotland said: “It is fantastic to see that in a traditionally quiet year between Olympic and Commonwealth Games that there are so many outstanding Scottish performances to choose from and many congratulations to all our nominees.
“However, Katherine’s determination to strive for Olympic gold in yet another discipline of her sport, despite having three silver medals in consecutive Olympics, is a credit to her absolute commitment to be the very best. The fact that she got onto the World Championship podium in her first season in the single sculls is quite incredible. She is a great ambassador, an outstanding female role model and a truly worthy winner of the Emirates Lonsdale Trophy.”
Congratulating the winners, Conrad Clifford, Emirates’ Vice-President, UK & Ireland, said: “Emirates is very pleased to continue its support of The Lonsdale Trophy, and we would like to offer our warmest congratulations to Katherine Grainger MBE on being awarded ‘Scottish Sportsperson of the Year’ for the very first time in her career. As official partner of the Scottish Commonwealth Games Team, we are honoured to be associated with an event that acknowledges the achievements of elite Scottish athletes like Katherine, Andy, Daniel, Sarah and Hannah on this global stage.”
Also recognised tonight were five winners of Scottish Sports Aid Merit Awards, for athletes 18 years of age and under. These were made to: Andrew Ward – Field Archery; Will Johnston – Triathlon; Sarah Kelly – Athletics; Lisa McKenzie – Fencing and Kirsty Gilmour – Badminton.
Ronnie Sloan, Acting Chair of the Scottish Sports Aid went on to present the Scottish Sports Aid Junior Sportsperson of the Year 2008/9 to Sarah Kelly. Sarah had an outstanding season winning no less than six titles including: AAA U17 800m Champion; Scottish U17 800m Champion; Scottish Schools Champion
Celtic Games Champion; Bank of Scotland U17 Champion and British Schools silver medallist.
It was also announced at the Dinner that Sir Peter Heatly was to become the new Patron of Commonwealth Games Scotland.
Lonsdale Trophy Winner Katherine Grainger & Scottish Sports Aid Junior Sportsperson of the Year 2008/9 Sarah Kelly