Mark Munro, Head of Development with scottishathletics, casts his eyes over the Club, Partnership, Volunteer, Officials and Coaching Awards.
‘The Oxford dictionary definition of ‘progress’ is: ‘The development towards an improved or more advanced condition . . . ‘
‘I certainly feel we can apply the word ‘progress’ to most forms of athletics development in Scotland over the past four years – growth, performance, quality of work, clubs across all levels.
‘And the standard of nominations received for the scottishathletics Annual Awards have merely borne witness to that very point.
‘With more nominations being received across the categories than ever before, there was an improvement in the overall quality of nominations; it ensured a very difficult task for the various groups and individuals involved in the task of choosing outright winners.
‘For example, take the ‘Impact Club of the Year’ Award. How, exactly, do you compare a club in a rural community who have doubled their membership, recruited numerous new volunteers and coaches as well as linking well with local schools and so on to an urban club of considerable size who have made significant changes to their coaching structure, set up as a charity, reviewed financial processes and subsequently benefited significantly from Gift Aid? It is almost impossible to separate them.
‘We are fortunate to have clubs like North Ayrshire AC doing a terrific job; Falkirk Victoria Harriers creating a fantastic communications database from scratch; and Team East Lothian being the first club in Scotland to introduce paid coaching structures and administration.
‘However, when taking an overview of development as a whole, it was clear that Inverclyde AC were deserved winners in this section; a club making great progress.
‘Kilbarchan AAC were winners of the ‘Off Track Club of the Year’ in recognition of their 2014 success; not only of their Commonwealth Games representative athletes but due to the depth of development of their endurance section at a youth level. Central AC also had a fantastic year at senior level both individually and as a team and other clubs like Garscube Harriers and Giffnock North AC are well worthy of a mention here.
‘Edinburgh AC once again won ‘Track and Field Club of the Year’ given their triumphs at UK league level – they are proving adept at staying at the top. Some of Scotland’s smaller clubs, however, are now being recognised in the event group sections of the national championships this year. Recognition which is good to see.
‘The ‘Partnership of the Year’ award is always a close call with partnerships such as the North East Scotland Athletics Partnership; North Lanarkshire; and East Renfrewshire all deserving of short-listing given overall athletics development work or commitment to successful projects or events.
‘But, this time, it was the Scottish Borders Partnership that prevailed – employment of a part-time development officer this year, continued financial contribution towards the Gala Harriers Club Together post, success of Team Borders as a competition opportunity and creation of a centralised event group coaching programme clearly merited the award.
‘So, how do you choose the ‘Volunteer of the Year’ ? Again, with great difficulty.
‘This was the most nominated of categories across the spectrum and had many deserving volunteers (arguably them all). Special mention must be given to the runners-up, Anne Scott (Edinburgh AC), Margaret McInally (Scottish Schools AA) and David Hand (Lasswade). Many like them have contributed over 30 years of service.
‘Judging on impact over the past 12 months, however, it was Blair Pettigrew who stood out for his leadership and guidance at the helm of North Ayrshire AC. NAAC really are a club that has transformed itself in the past year.’
‘Official of the Year’ is another almost impossible task on an annual basis. This year was our biggest ever for officials with Glasgow 2014 at the forefront but many more national and local events taking place. In my opinion this should be re-labelled the ‘unsung hero’ award. Ultimately, the winners were a team rather than an individual: congratulations to the Technical Team from Glasgow 2014 (Liz Wilder, Hugh Baillie, Andy Law, Brian Nisbet, Mark Stringer and Magnus Ross).
‘In the Coaching Awards, at the Children’s end a number of specialist coaches doing a great job are beginning to emerge. This year the category was tight with James Joy (Aberdeen) and Gordon Selfridge (East Kilbride) deserving a mention. But the deserved winner was Clare Stevenson (Giffnock North AC).
‘Development Coach is another close category. Willy Russell has done some fantastic work with sprinters in Aberdeenshire and Sandy Robertson is very much the Combined Events guru of the central/east areas.
‘John Lees has been recognised for his fantastic work with many middle distance and endurance athletes but particularly pleasing to see his former prodigies, Jake Wightman and Emily Dudgeon, moving towards world class level.
‘However, once again the Joyce and Ken Hogg combination continues to produce more and more athletes moving to senior success with Rhona Auckland and Kelsey Stewart very much at the heart of recent successes and we congratulate the Hoggs on another successful year.
‘Performance Coach of the Year in a Commonwealth Games Year – far from easy! Recognition must be given to Chris Black for his particular efforts with Rachel Hunter and general advice to a range of athletes and coaches within the hammer event; John Scott has improved Sarah Warnock amongst others up the performance pathway; and Andy Young continues to help Laura Muir move into World Level.
‘However, one high jump performance stood out this year, 2.28m from Ray Bobrownicki propelled him into World Class levels and the award went to his coach, John Melvin.’
The Full List
Official of the Year: The Technical Team from Glasgow 2014 – Liz Wilder, Hugh Baillie, Andy Law, Brian Nisbet, Mark Stringer and Magnus Ross.
Raymond Hutchison Trophy for Services to Officiating: Dave Finlayson
Partnership of the Year: Scottish Borders
Nominated: North Lanarkshire; East Renfrewshire; NESAP
Volunteer of the Year: Blair Pettigrew (North Ayrshire AAC)
Nominated: Anne Scott (Edinburgh AC); Margaret McInally (Scottish Schools AA); David Hand (Lasswade)
Impact Club of the Year: Inverclyde AC
Nominated: Falkirk Vic Harriers; North Ayrshire AC; East Lothian AC
Track and Field Club of the Year: Edinburgh AC
Off Track Club of the Year: Kilbarchan AAC
Nominated: Central AC; Giffnock North AAC; Garscube Harriers AC
Children’s Coach of the Year: Clare Stevenson (Giffnock North AC)
Nominated: James Joy (Aberdeen); Gordon Selfridge (East Kilbride).
Development Coach of the Year: Joyce and Ken Hogg (Aberdeen AAC)
Nominated: Willy Russell; Sandy Robertson; John Lees
Performance Coach of the Year: John Melvin
Nominated: Chris Black; John Scott; Andy Young
Honorary Life Membership: Joe Bruce