It may not possess the glitz and glamour of BBC’s annual Sport Personality of the Year gala events, but some of the city’s finest sports stars will be honoured for their heroics on Sunday at the Edinburgh Sports Awards for 2013.
The inspirational impact from last year’s London Olympics has helped spark an increase in sporting participation rate across the board. While some are content just to enjoy their exercise on a recreational level, others take things a tad more competitively, to the extent that sport becomes an overriding passion and daily commitment.
The event this weekend, hosted on behalf of the City of Edinburgh Council and held at Heriot-Watt University, will attract a vast array of sporting athletes and coaches who have been nominated as being some of the best in the business.
There are several awards across a number of categories, from Volunteer of the Year, Performance Coach of the Year, to the prestigious Sports Academy Athlete of the Year, with live demonstrations from weightlifters and wrestlers over the course of the evening.
Men’s foilist Keith Cook, a Commonwealth Games silver medallist, is in the running for the Young Person’s Coach of the Year. Cook put his omission from Team GB’s Olympic team behind him and now teaches over 140 primary school children on a weekly basis through the use of plastic or foam swords via his own personal initiative, Fencing Fun. He also instructs the ‘metal’ alternative of the sport at Salle Holyrood Fencing Club four days a week.
Stephanie Lynch, nominated in the Community Coach of the Year category, has proved instrumental in her development of youth basketball. As well as coaching the Under-12 National Basketball Girls’ squad, she also engages in both basketball and badminton for several primary schools through the Active Schools initiative.
City of Edinburgh Trampoline Club’s Kayleigh Jeffrey is part of a successful coaching team that has consistently delivered results with their students at both local and national competitions. She will be one of the favourites to be named Development Coach of the Year.
Meanwhile, emerging badminton player, Julie MacPherson, is one to keep an eye on in the Sports Academy Athlete of the Year category. The Royal High School pupil has enjoyed considerable success from a young age and is now taking the badminton circuit by storm.
MacPherson is the national Under-17s champion and was also selected to represent Scotland at the European Junior Championships in Turkey in March and will also travel to Taipei, Taiwan, next month to compete for her country in the World Junior Championships.
SNP Councillor Richard Lewis, who will be in attendance at the university to oversee the presentations, said: “As we reflect on last year’s Olympic Games and now look forward to the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, we are presented with a great opportunity to encourage all generations to get involved in sport, inspire athletes to reach new heights of performance, and encourage the wider public to create and meet their physical activity goals. Realising this vision would not be possible without the hard work, determination, and skill of our coaches and sports clubs in the city.”
Whoever goes away clutching an award on Sunday evening will have fought off some stern competition to do so.