After an unparalleled year for British and Scottish sport, there was a lot to celebrate at the Commonwealth Games Awards Dinner in Glasgow tonight (10 November). Such was the strength of the nominations this year that judges were unable to choose between Scotland’s greatest Olympian Sir Chris Hoy and World number three Andy Murray in his first Grand Slam winning year. Both were named as Scottish Sportsperson of the Year 2012 and jointly awarded the Emirates Lonsdale Trophy. Chris and Andy will both receive two Business Class flights to Dubai courtesy of Award sponsor Emirates – the Official Airline Partner of Glasgow 2014.
The dinner, organised by Commonwealth Games Scotland in partnership with Glasgow 2014 Ltd., looked back at the incredible success of the London 2012 Olympic Games and contemplated the excitement to come for Scotland over the next two years. Plans to deliver an outstanding XX Commonwealth Games are progressing rapidly, whilst Scottish athletes are preparing to enter the race for a coveted place on Team Scotland, when the selection period opens early next year.
There were four Scottish athletes shortlisted for the top award of the evening.
In 2012 track cyclist Sir Chris Hoy became Britain’s most successful Olympian winning two gold medals, first in the Team Sprint (with Philip Hindes and Jason Kenny) and then in his specialist Keirin event, to add to his silver medal in 2000, gold in 2004 and three gold medals in 2008. Over the last year Chris amassed a further World Championship title and bronze medal to take his tally to 11 World titles and 25 World Championship medals. In the ultimate honour, Chris was named by his fellow athletes as Flag Bearer for Team GB at the Opening Ceremony of the 2012 Olympic Games. This is the sixth time that Sir Chris Hoy has won the Emirates Lonsdale Trophy out of the ten years it has been awarded.
Tennis player, Andy Murray capped a fantastic year by winning his first Grand Slam event, the US Open in a pulsating match against world number one Novak Djokovic. This followed a breakthrough gold medal win at the London 2012 Olympics, avenging a Wimbledon final loss to Roger Federer. Partnering Laura Robson, Andy came close to winning two Olympic titles eventually losing in three sets in the mixed doubles final to claim silver. The year started with reaching the final of the Australian Open and has finished with him being ranked a clear number three in the world going into the season ending ATP Masters finals this weekend, behind only Djokovic and Federer.
Also on the shortlist, with outstanding performances that would have won the award in any other year, were rower Katherine Grainger and swimmer Michael Jamieson.
In 2012 Katherine Grainger achieved her life goal by winning Olympic gold in double sculls with Anna Watkins which makes Katherine the first British female athlete in any sport to medal in four successive Olympic Games.
Scotland’s first Olympic swimming medallist since Graeme Smith in 1996, Michael Jamieson won a silver medal in the 200m Breaststroke at London 2012, setting three Scottish and British Records in the process.
Announcing the award, Commonwealth Games Scotland Chairman Michael Cavanagh said: “2012 has been an incredible year for Scotland’s top sportsmen and women with the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games capturing the imagination of the whole country.
“I am delighted that Emirates are supporting the Lonsdale trophy again this year. All four shortlisted athletes gave performances which would make them worthy winners, but in the end the judging panel felt that Chris and Andy just had the edge over the others.
“I would like to take this opportunity to wish our athletes all the best for 2013, when they will strive to achieve the selection standards to make the team for Glasgow 2014. As we have seen recently, there is nothing like a home Games to inspire athletes to achieve great things and I look forward to watching them in their quest for Commonwealth Games success over the next 20 months.”
Commenting on the progress made by Glasgow 2014 over the last year, Chief Executive, David Grevemberg said: ““There is widespread recognition of the positive impact the Commonwealth Games are already having – and will continue to have – not just in Glasgow but right across Scotland. Legacy is not simply an aspiration for tomorrow – it is a fact of today and positive impacts already being felt by individuals and communities in terms of jobs and training, new facilities and fresh opportunities, particularly for young people. Our venues are already attracting other world-class events.
“There is no doubt the experience of London 2012 has set the benchmark high in the eyes of athletes of the Commonwealth and millions of people utterly absorbed in an extraordinary summer of sport. All our feedback shows there is great excitement at the prospect of a Commonwealth Games in Scotland and we – as an Organising Committee and as Game Partners – are equally excited at the prospect of delivering an outstanding Games for Glasgow, for Scotland and for the Commonwealth.“
The evening also saw a number of presentations by Ronnie Sloan, Chairman of Scottish Sports Aid to recognise the achievements of Scottish junior athletes between the ages of 12 and 22 years. Five Merit Awards were presented to Lorenzo Chiavarini – Sailing; James Clegg – swimming; Douglas Kempsell – Squash; Maia Lumsden – Tennis and Jade Nimmo – Athletics. From the five, two further awards were made to acknowledge the Most Improved Junior Sportsperson and the Junior Sportsperson of the Year 2012.
14 year old tennis player, Maia Lumsden from Glasgow was named the Most Improved Junior Sportsperson. She started 2012 in style winning the Tennis Europe grade 1 U14 event in Bolton and was a semi-finalist in Tarbes, France (the unofficial U14 World Championships). Maia was a member of the GB U14 girls’ team who won the European Championships, and were runners-up in the World Championships. She also won the Aegon Junior International U18 event in Nottingham in April and finished the summer ranked No.1 in Europe for U14 girls.
However it fell to Paralympic swimmer James Clegg to take top honours, named as Junior Sportsperson of the Year 2012. 18 year old James from Langholm has had an outstanding year. He won the S12 100m Butterfly at the British Championships, in a time of 1:01.46s, breaking a 12 year old British Record, before going on to compete for Paralympics GB London 2012, where he further improved his time to 59.99 seconds in the heats, and went on to win bronze in the final. He also qualified for the 50m and 100m Freestyle finals at the Games. Over the year James has improved his 100m Butterfly time by an impressive 6.3 seconds, and both his Freestyle events by more than one second.
Congratulating the athletes Duncan Hamilton, Executive Director of Scottish Sports Aid said: “The dedication of these young people, and the sacrifices made by their families, both in terms of finance and time, cannot be overestimated. We hope that, with the continuing support of our sponsors and patrons, Scottish Sports Aid will be able to nurture many more such Scottish sporting stars in the future.”
More than 350 people from Scottish sport and business joined in the celebrations at Glasgow’s Hilton Hotel including a number of London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic athletes.