Badminton prodigy Julie MacPherson was named Sports Academy Young Athlete of the Year for 2013 at the annual Edinburgh Sports Awards ceremony.
The 15-year-old took the title for the second consecutive year ahead of football’s Cailin Michie and cricket’s Chayank Gosain, an award dedicated to the City of Edinburgh Schools’ Sports Academy which offers training and support to assist young athletes fulfil their potential.
The event, held at Heriot-Watt University on Sunday evening, was hosted on behalf of the City of Edinburgh Council and was attended by rower David Smith MBE, who won gold in last year’s Paralympics.
Speaking about her success, Julie said: “It was a bit of a shock to win actually. Not many people have won it two years in a row or even been nominated, so I’m happy. I’ve been playing well and was selected to play for Scotland at Under-19 level [European Junior Championships in Turkey in March], which is two age-groups above me. I’m also going to play at the Worlds for Scotland at the same age-group in October.”
The Royal High pupil will undertake the long journey to Bangkok next month, accompanied by her elder sister Heather, who she will partner in the ladies doubles competition, as well as testing herself in the singles event.
Edinburgh fencer Keith Cook was a worthy winner in the Young Person’s Coach of the Year category.
Cook said: “It was unbelievable to win. This is my first coaching award, but I’ve been working with over 240 kids per week and have also designed the world’s first grading system for fencing at grass-roots level.
“The competition I faced was amazing – hearing their stories and winning it is just something different for me. It’s a completely alternative aspect from what I am used to winning and people who have dedicated their efforts and time to developing the sport.
“2013 has been amazing for me. I am in the top three in Britain again, so it’s exciting times and I am not looking back at what could have been [his omission by Team GB for last year’s Olympics], but looking towards the future.”
Volunteer of the Year: Clare Mackle, The City of Edinburgh Basketball Club; Young Person’s Coach of the Year: Keith Cook, fencing; Young Coach of the Year: Ellie Wilson, handball; Community Coach of the Year: Andrew McMenigall, Edinburgh Triathletes; Disability Coach of the Year: Celia Peerless, Edinburgh Eagles Athletics Club; Sports Academy Young Athlete of the Year: Julie MacPherson, badminton; Development Coach of the Year: Kayleigh Jeffrey, City of Edinburgh Trampoline Club; Performance Coach of the Year: Dave Campbell, athletics; Sports Club of the Year (50 members and under): Edinburgh Spirals, trampolining; Sports Club of the Year (50 members and over): Edinburgh Athletics Club.