Scotland’s Commonwealth, World and Olympic cycling champion Chris Hoy was named Outstanding Male Athlete in Glasgow, at the 27th Commonwealth Sports Awards sponsored by Clydesdale Bank. Chris was among eight of the Commonwealth’s top sportsmen and women honoured for outstanding performances over the last year across a range of award categories, in front of an extensive international sporting audience attending the 2nd Commonwealth Sports Development Conference.
Chris had been narrowly beaten to the Outstanding male Athlete title in 2006 by the Jamaican sprinter Asafa Powell. But with 2007 producing two gold and one silver medal at the World Championships and three out of three possible gold medals at the World Cup in Manchester, it must rank as his most successful season to date. This was complemented further when he set the world record for the 500m flying start at altitude in Bolivia last May.
In the Outstanding Female Athlete category Australia’s queen of the pool Lisbeth Lenton took top honours. She had dominated the 12th FINA World Championships in Melbourne winning gold in three individual and two relay events to become the most successful female swimmer ever at a world championship.
Australian lawn bowler Kelsey Cottrell was named Outstanding Young Achiever and at just 17 is the youngest female to represent Australia in senior competition. In 2007 she had an outstanding year winning gold at the World Team Cup, a silver in the triples and a bronze in the fours at the Asia Pacific Championships. She was a semi finalist in the Australian Indoor Championships and won both the Queensland and NSW Opens in singles to finish the year as Australia’s number one ranked female singles athlete.
It was a competition between athletics and archery in the Outstanding Male Elite Athlete with Disability category, with Australian Kurt Fearnley coming out on top for his amazing exploits in the marathon. In 2007 Kurt won 10 out of the 11 international marathons he entered including the prestigious Chicago and New York marathons. He also won gold in the 1500m wheelchair race at the 2007 World Championships
In the Female Elite Athlete with Disability category the judges found it too close to call and awarded as joint winners England’s Danielle Brown and Karolina Pelendritou from Cyprus. Danielle’s archery prowess, particularly at the World Championships was quite incredible, not only winning gold, but setting seven world records in the process. In the pool at major British, European and World Championships Karolina won six gold medals and set three world records.
Most Outstanding Team went to the South African Rugby who won the 2007 IRB World Cup beating the holders England in the final. Coach Jake White and winger Bryan Habana went on to be named IRB coach and player of the year respectively.
In the Sports Administrator of the Year category Malta’s Joe Cassar was recognized for his significant contribution to the organization of the 1st Mediterranean Friendship Games as a joint venture with Sicily. The event aims to increase the opportunity to raise levels of competitiveness for Maltese and Sicilian athletes. Joe is the Secretary General of the Malta Olympic Committee.
It was William ‘Billy’ Stewart from Northern Ireland that collected the final award of the evening, The Lifetime Achievement Award. Billy has dedicated his life to cycling and sport in general in Northern Ireland for over 60 years.An accomplished performer on the track in the 1940s and 50s, Billy went on to be a team manager, chairman then President of the Cycling Federation and a representative on the world body. He has held a host of administrative roles culminating in Chairman of the Northern Ireland Commonwealth Games Council, a post he held from 1979 until he retired in 2006. Throughout his distinguished career the competitors were always his primary concern. He was recognized in the 2008 New Year Honours List with an MBE for Services to Sport.
Congratulating the winners, event founder Al Hamilton MBE said: I would like to offer my congratulations to all our winners announced tonight. It was a difficult job for the judges, with mor high quality nominations than ever before received for this year’s prestigious 27th Commonwealth Sports Awards. I would also like to thank Glasgow City Council and our sponsors Clydesdale Bank, for their tremendous support”.
Also in attendance at the dinner and presenting awards was the new Commonwealth Secretary General, HE Kamalesh Sharma and Mike Fennell, OJ, CD President of the Commonwealth Games Federation.
· Sports Administrator of the Year
o Joe Cassar, Malta *
o Anne Smillie, Scotland *
· Outstanding Young Achiever (under 18)
o Kelsey Cottrell (Lawn Bowls), Australia *
o Thomas Daley (Diving), England
o Kirani James (Athletics), Grenada *
· Outstanding Male Athlete
o Chris Hoy (Cycling), Scotland *
o Nathan Deakes (Athletics), Australia
o George Achilleos (Shooting), Cyprus
· Outstanding Female Athlete
o Lisbeth Lenton (Swimming), Australia
o Veronica Campbell (Athletics), Jamaica
o Catherine Ndereba (Athletics), Kenya
· Outstanding Male Elite Athlete with Disability
o Kurt Fearnley (Athletics), Australia
o Antonis Aresti (Athletics), Cyprus *
o Steve Prowse (Archery), England *
· Outstanding Female Elite Athlete with Disability
o Karolina Pelendritou (Swimming), Cyprus *
o Danielle Brown ( Archery), England
· Most Outstanding Team
o South Africa (Rugby)
o Australia (Netball)
o New Zealand (Rugby 7s)
· Lifetime Achievement Award (athletes, coaches and administrators)
o William ‘Billy’ Stewart, Northern Ireland *
o Charles Flower, Gibraltar *
o Mac Henderson, Scotland *