Following an outstanding season that saw her break World and European records, triple World Para-Athletics Championships medallist Sammi Kinghorn added to her accolades as she lifted the Emirates Lonsdale Trophy as 2017 Scottish Sportsperson of the Year, at the Team Scotland Scottish Sports Awards in Edinburgh last night.
With a host of sporting stars, including medallists from the recent Bahamas 2017 Commonwealth Youth Games in attendance, the evening was an inspirational celebration of their outstanding achievements, as well as the success of individuals, schools, clubs and teams across the whole of Scottish sport.
The first para-sport athlete to take the top award of Scottish Sportsperson of the Year in its 15 year history, Sammi’s name joins past winners such as Sir Chris Hoy, Sir Andy Murray and Dame Katherine Grainger on the trophy. After missing the podium at the 2016 Rio Paralympics, the past year has seen Sammi on a phenomenal rise to the top of her sport, securing her first global titles. An inspiring culmination of her journey since the accident which left her paralysed at the age of 14, she broke her own World record to take gold over 200m at the World Para-Athletics Championships in London, going on to take a second gold in the 100m and bronze in the 400m. Since then her focus has turned to the road, coming second in her debut half marathon at the Great North Run, in a bid to gain selection for the 2018 Commonwealth Games in the marathon as well as the T53/54 1500m on the track.
Sammi said: “When you see yourself up against great athletes like Danii Joyce and Gordon Reid, you don’t expect to win. It’s amazing to even be thought of as one of the best para-sport athletes in Scotland but to actually win is incredible, and then to win Scottish Sportsperson of the Year as well, that’s something I never thought of. To hold the trophy and Andy Murray’s name is on it and all the greats of Scottish sport, knowing that your name is going to be there too is really special.
I don’t think there’s been a para athlete that’s won it in the past, so be to be the first is pretty cool. It means the world to me to have my family and friends here tonight. To have the people there who have stood by you through all the hard times and all the good times, and to know that they’ll always be there for you, that’s really special.”
Sammi’s success came on a superb night for Athletics with double European Indoor Champion Laura Muir named Female Athlete of the Year and her coach Andy Young lifting the Coach of the Year award. Scottish Athletics also took the award for Sport Governing Body of the Year for the second year in succession, with record numbers selected for the World Championships, 120,000 athletes competing in permit events and great strides made in inclusion, propelling them to the title.
Duncan Scott’s gold and silver medal winning performances in the relays at the World Swimming Championships, along with magnificent swims for fourth and fifth place in his individual freestyle events, gave him the nod for Male Athlete of the Year over a strong shortlist which included 2016 winner Sir Andy Murray.
The Murray family did have an award winner however, with Judy Murray OBE named Team Scot of the Year in recognition of her relentless drive for equality in sport and an active lifestyle for all children. Behind the successful ‘Miss Hits’ and ‘She Rallies’ programmes to encourage female participation and leadership in Tennis, she is a powerful advocate for sport at all levels and the continuing need for investment.
There was a huge reception for boxer Josh Taylor, a popular winner of Sporting Moment of the Year, whose stunning win over the previously unbeaten Ohara Davies to defend his Commonwealth Title belt, was the moment that captured the heart of the nation and majority of the public vote.
Scotland’s leading points scorer of his generation, Rugby legend Gavin Hastings OBE was honoured with the Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of an outstanding playing career which saw him win 61 caps, including 20 as captain, and a wealth of charity and fundraising work since retirement from the international game. In contrast, just beginning his own career at 18 years old, World and European Junior Canoe Sprint champion Ieuan James was the winner of the Sir Peter Heatly Trophy as Young Athlete of the Year.
The Scotland Women’s Football national side took Team of the Year reflecting their successful Euro 2017 qualifying campaign which saw them win seven of their eight games and take their place at their first ever major international championship. There was also a Special Recognition Award for Celtic Football Club following their historic season which saw them unbeaten in domestic competition, winning the fourth treble in their history and becoming the first team to go an entire Scottish top-flight league season without a defeat since 1899.
Individuals and organisations driving success at all levels of Scottish sport were also honoured, with Richard Brickley MBE named as Volunteer of the Year for his work in disability sport, while Drumchapel Community Sports Hub and Active East’s Scottish Sports Futures took the Community Hub, Club or School and Games Legacy awards respectively.
There was also big news for golf fans, as Catriona Matthew MBE was announced as the European Team captain for the 2019 Solheim Cup.
Paul Bush OBE, Chair of Commonwealth Games Scotland, said: “Following the launch of these awards in their new format last year, tonight’s event has raised the bar once again, as we celebrate what has been a truly outstanding year for Scottish sport.
“A huge thank you to our partners and sponsors, whose support has made this fantastic event possible and enables us to properly recognise the achievements of the individuals, teams and organisations that help to put Scotland on the sporting map.
“Looking forward, the 2018 Winter Olympics and Paralympics and the 2018 Commonwealth Games are now just five months away, where many of these athletes will be aiming for medals. I wish them all the best with their final preparations and I am quite sure we will be celebrating their achievements this time next year.”
Over 500 people joined the celebrations at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre, where the evening was hosted by award winning TV presenter Hazel Irvine and comedian Fred MacAulay, with funds raised for the Scottish Commonwealth Games Youth Trust.
2017 AWARD WINNERS
Scottish Sportsperson of the Year – Emirates Lonsdale Trophy: Sammi Kinghorn, Para-Athletics
Male Athlete of the Year – sponsored by Brand Oath: Duncan Scott, Swimming
Female Athlete of the Year – sponsored by The Scottish Sun: Laura Muir, Athletics
Para-Sport Athlete of the Year – sponsored by CGI: Sammi Kinghorn, Para-Athletics
Team of the Year – sponsored by PSL / Canterbury: Scotland Women’s Football
Coach of the Year – sponsored by University of Stirling: Andy Young, Athletics
Sporting Moment of the Year – sponsored by Glasgow 2018 European Championships:
Josh Taylor defends his Commonwealth Title belt against England’s Ohara Davies
Young Athlete of the Year – Sir Peter Heatly Trophy, sponsored by City Legacy Homes: Ieuan James, Canoe Sprint
Volunteer of the Year – sponsored by Eden Mill: Richard Brickley MBE, Disability Sport
Governing Body of the Year – sponsored by Edinburgh International Conference Centre: Scottish Athletics
Community Hub, Club or School of the Year – sponsored by sportscotland: Drumchapel Community Sports Hub
Games Legacy Award – sponsored by Legacy 2014 / City Legacy Homes: Active East – Scottish Sports Futures
Lifetime Achievement – sponsored by Commonwealth Games Scotland: Gavin Hastings OBE, Rugby
Team Scot of the Year – sponsored by Aberdeen Standard Investments: Judy Murray OBE, Tennis
Special Recognition Award – sponsored by Commonwealth Games Scotland: Celtic Football Club