Month: January 2017

Nik enthralling the delgates as he provides a fascinating opening address

SDS Coaching Conference – 29 January 2017

89 delegates attended the SDS Coaching Conference in Stirling on Sunday 29 January 2017 and fantastic learning opportunities were on offer throughout the day.  Richard Brickley MBE provides his thoughts on the day.

“Nik Diaper, Head of Sport Science and Sports Medicine  at the English Institute of Sport, and Matt Hammond, Performance Manager at GB Boccia, provided stimulating keynote addresses on Rio 2016 and planning for Tokyo 2017.

Morning and afternoon workshops in transition tolerance and toughness, leadership and mentoring, nutrition and hydration, developing an adapted programme, communication and planning and preparation for a major event offered delegates lots of food for thought.

A panel session of coaches and athletes involved in Rio and a “looking forward” session  from Mike Whittingham, sportscotland’s Director of High Performance, rounded off the very full day programme perfectly.”

Many thanks to all the coaches and support staff who supported the event.

Pupils at the starting line

West Schools Cross Country

The third and final event of the West of Scotland Schools Cross Country Series took place on Thursday 19th January at Bellahouston Park in Glasgow.  The Inspiring Sport Project, through the Celtic FC Foundation, once again supported the event.

259 pupils from 24 schools ran over the course set out on a 1km loop, in the 1km, 2km and 3km races.

This being the last race of the series, the tension was high with medal places at stake.  Although a dry, but cold day, the course in places was extremely muddy and a number of competitors lost a shoe on the final stretch into the finish which proved costly for some.  All in all though, there were some fantastic performances and some tight finishes, and credit goes to all the competitors.

Thanks to all the schools who attended, and made it such a successful event.  The numbers are increasing every year and it is fantastic to see so many pupils in Primary and Secondary schools putting so much effort into completing the course and being active.

Every pupil who completed all three races received a series medal, and the pupils with the most points over the series, received individual medals for their events.

Thanks to the West of Scotland Schools Committee, Shona Malcolm and officials (Scottish Athletics), James Hemmingsley (Glasgow Active Schools), Gordon McCormack (Glasgow Disability Sport) and pupils from Abercorn school, for their input in organising and running the event.

A full set of results can be seen here.

Get Out Get Active logo

Grampian Launch Get Out, Get Active Project

Grampian Disability Sport invite you to join us at Garioch Sports Centre, Burghmuir Drive Inverurie, AB51 4GY on the 5th March @ 2pm.

This event will be the official launch of the Get Out, Get Active (GOGA) Project including adapted cycling, walking and triathlon for people with disabilities.

At the launch event there will be the opportunity to try adapted cycling for all abilities. Garioch Sports Centre will become the first adapted cycling hub to be set up as part of the project and the first ever hub in Aberdeenshire. So come along and tell us what you would like to see at the hub.

Places will be limited for the adapted cycling session so please book your place now by emailing: or call 01467 534730.

Cara Smyth in the pool

Fife Swim Squad Make Their Mark in the East

The Mercat Gait Centre in East Lothian was the venue for the Scottish Disability Sport / Scottish Swimming National Short Course Performance Swim Championships on Sunday 22nd January 2017. 42 of Scotland’s leading swimmers with a physical, sensory or learning disability from all areas of the country took part including 7 from Fife. Following the retirement of Craig Rodgie, Lucy Walkup, Stefan Hoggan and Craig Smith, Disability Sport Fife is trying to grow its performance swimming squad and at the moment it is heading in the right direction.

The Performance Championships are a strong partnership event between Scottish Disability Sport and Scottish Swimming and were introduced to support regional development and create an appropriate competition for swimmers with performance potential. The Championships incorporate the IPC Multi-Classification system and for some swimmers this was their first opportunity to compete under the British Swimming Points Scoring System. Race positions are determined by points scored against the world record for each individual swimmer’s class.

The Fife squad included Cara Smyth, Kirsty Brunton, Cameron Hemphill and Cerys Venters Scott from INCAS. Oliver Carter From Carnegie SC, Steven McCormick from FINS and Mary Wilson from Edinburgh completed the line up and within the group there were many personal best times.

Cara Smyth competed in 100m backstroke (1.28.69), 400m freestyle (5.23.45), 100m breast (1.42.25), and 200m IM (3.10.18) winning gold for freestyle and bronze for backstroke. Cara’s INCAS team mate Cerys Venters Scott is going through classification at the moment and competed as a guest. Cerys recorded excellent times for 100m Back, 50m freestyle, 200m IM and 100m freestyle.

Oliver Carter competed in 100m backstroke  (1.13.15),100m butterfly (1.10.75), 100m breast (1.19.83) and 100m free (59.60). The silver medal swim in 100m butterfly was his best swim of the day and he will be pleased with another sub 60 100m freestyle.

The other standout performances by Fife swimmers were Steven McCormick 4th 400m freestyle (5.55.67) and 4th 50m freestyle (36.77. Mary Wilson picked up silver for 400m freestyle (8.05.46) and 6th place in 100m freestyle (1.42.04). Kirsty Brunton’s best performance was 5th in 400m freestyle (9.01.30) and newcomer Cameron Hemphill’s best swim was 8th place in 100m breaststroke in (2.32.52.

Well done Team Fife and to the coaches at INCAS, FINS and Carnegie SC who are responsible for their training and preparation.

Richard Brickley MBE
President, Disability Sport Fife

Head and shoulders of Finlay and Skye Davidson

Important Year for Fife Youngsters

12 year old Finlay and 7 year old Skye from Inverkeithing HS and Inverkeithing Primary became members of Disability Sport Fife (DSF) in 2016 and within a short period of time they have made an immense impression on fellow athletes and coaching personnel. Parents Hailey and Scott hail from Aberdeen and Edinburgh respectively and following a spell in Kinnesswood, the family settled in Inverkeithing eight years ago. Finlay and Skye are the first athletes with achondroplasia to be involved with DSF.

The Davidson family joined the Dwarf Sports Association Uk (Dsauk) 5years ago and became inspired to become active in sports. Each year Skye and Finlay compete at the National Games in Birmingham in a range of sports. In June 2015 mum Hailey was encouraged to develop a Dsauk programme north of the border and consequently create many more opportunities for participants with dwarfism in Scotland. Currently Finlay and Skye are involved in track and field, football, basketball, hockey, boccia, curling, archery, swimming and badminton.

Finlay and Skye are members of the new Scottish region of the Dsauk and participate in a wide range of monthly activities. It was obvious early on that they had a real passion for sport and considerable performance potential. At the 2016 National Games they won 11 medals between them. They became further inspired about disability sport from watching the Paralympic Games from Rio.

Team Davidson are very committed to regular weekly training in Fife. Skye and Finlay pursue their swimming and Taekwon-do interests at Inverkithing HS Community Use School or as it is known to locals “The Wing”. Within the “Wing” the first disability swimming club was established back in the 70s with coach Jean Wilson at the helm. The Inverkeithing Club went on to produce many fine swimmers for the DSF swim squad including William McQueen who became a Paralympic medallist.

Finlay and Skye signed up to DSF last year following involvement with Scottish Disability Sport (SDS) and have not looked back since. Their impact on the Thursday DSF run, jump and throws session at Pitreavie, led by coach Pamela Robson, has been massive and their performances have improved accordingly. DSF has nominated Finlay to attend a Classification Clinic hosted by Scottish and British Athletics in Glasgow and they are also signed up to GOGA in Fife. The youngsters are also pursuing an active interest in competitive disability badminton.

The 2017 Dsauk National Games will once again be a focus for the very active and enthusiastic youngsters as well as local and national event opportunities.  In addition however they will be travelling to Guelph in Canada in August to compete in the 7th World Dwarf Games as part of the GB team …. a busy but very exciting year for the talented Fife youngsters.

Skye’s ambition is to be a fast runner and compete for GB at the Paralympic Games. Finlay has similar sporting ambitions but at the same time believes that it would be amazing to be an Xbox gamer. Whatever the future holds for these talented Fife youngsters it is definite that they are widely respected within DSF and they have only been with us for a very short period. Hailey and Scott are yet another team of very inspirational Fife parents who are fully committed to the benefits of sport.

Richard Brickley MBE
President Disability Sport Fife

Gordon Reid and Joachim Gerard with trophy

Reid Australian Open Title Complete Doubles Grand Slam

Gordon Reid completed a career Grand Slam of men’s doubles wheelchair tennis titles on Friday after partnering Joachim Gerard of Belgium to win the Australian Open crown 6-3, 3-6, (10-3) against Alfie Hewett and Argentina’s Gustavo Fernandez.

With two Australian Open titles secured so far for players on the Tennis Foundation’s Wheelchair Tennis World Class Programme, Andy Lapthorne will bid for another on Saturday. Lapthorne takes on Dylan Alcott of Australia in the quad singles final, when he will bid to add to the quad doubles title he won on Thursday. The match will take place on Rod Laver Arena.

With Brits on either side of the net in the men’s doubles final, second seeds Reid and Gerard made a confident start and took a 4-0 lead before Hewett and Fernandez managed to recover one of the breaks against them.

After beating Paralympic champions and top seeds Stephane Houdet and Nicolas Peifer in their semi-final, Hewett and Fernandez made the early breakthrough in the second set, turning a 2-0 lead into a 5-2 advantage and forcing the match tie-break. However, Reid and Gerard went through the last seven points of the match tie-break without reply to win their first Grand Slam title together.

“I’m very happy to finish this Australian trip on a high after some disappointing results and performances at times. It was a last minute decision to play with Jo but one that has paid off,” said Reid after the fifth Grand Slam doubles title of his career. “I don’t think any one of us played our best tennis in the final today, but we upped our level when it mattered in the match tie-break. It’s also a great feeling to complete the career doubles Grand Slam.”

Reid had previously won the Roland Garros and US Open doubles titles in 2015 and added the Wimbledon doubles crown to a second title in Paris in 2016.

“It was a tough final. The momentum kept switching as the match went on,” said Hewett. “We started a bit slow again and they pressured us into making errors. But once again it was a real positive that we fought back. We just didn’t have the composure or consistency to keep it up in the match tie-break. It was a really great atmosphere to play in and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my first Australian Open experience. I’m looking forward to going back home and working on everything I have learnt this week.”

Lapthorne was awarded a walkover in his scheduled third and last quad singles round-robin match against Heath Davidson after the Australian withdrew due to injury.

World No.3 Lapthorne will now bid to go one better than in 2013 when he reached his first Australian Open quad singles final.

Photo courtesy of the Tennis Foundation

Two swimmers preparing to dive at the championships

National Performance Swim Championships 2017

Sunday 22nd January 2017

The Mercat Gait Centre in East Lothian played host to the Scottish Disability Sport / Scottish Swimming National Short Course Performance Swim Championships on Sunday 22nd January 2017, attracting 42 swimmers with a physical, sensory or learning impairment from all regions of the country.

The Performance Championships are a strong partnership event between Scottish Disability Sport and Scottish Swimming and were introduced to support regional development and create an appropriate competition for regional and national squad swimmers, inviting individuals from the Highlands, Grampian, Central, Fife the West and East of Scotland.  The event implements the IPC Multi-Classification system and for a number of swimmers, this was the first time they had experienced the British Swimming Points Scoring System allowing them valuable an introduction to these conditions and therefore preparing them for future competitions.

Records Tumble

The calibre of swimmers was evident for all to see, highlighted by the attendance of three Paralympians – Scott Quin & Stephen Clegg (East of Scotland) and Abby Kane (West of Scotland).  Paralympic medallists Quin (25) and Kane (13) demonstrated the form that secured silver medals in the SB14 and S13 classifications respectively, with youngster Kane building on that success by breaking three Scottish Records in the 50m Free (30.50), 100m Fly (1:18.69) and 100m Breast (1:26.29).  On top of this, the REN 96 swimmer wowed the crowd with an astonishing performance, swimming inside the world record time for the S13 100m Back – completing the distance in 1:09.42.

There were also notable performances from Borders Elite Swim Team (BEST) swimmer Beth Johnston who lowered the Scottish record in the S10 100m Back (1:16.77), Kayleigh Haggo (West of Scotland) and Rosie Sheridan (Central) who also claimed new Scottish records.

In total there were 66% of swims where personal bests were achieved, highlighting the importance of this gala in terms of encouraging the development of swimmers.

Scottish Disability Sport would like to express thanks to all the dedicated volunteers from the SASA East District for their Swimmers lined up at the championshipsinvaluable support on the day, as well as the expertise provided from multi Paralympic medallist Jim Anderson OBE who kindly handed all medals to the successful swimmers.  Paul Wilson, the Disability Performance Development Manager, was also present to ensure the smooth running of the event lending his experience to the points system for the event.

For further information on the event or swimming for people with disabilities in Scotland, contact Scottish Disability Sport on 0131 317 1130 or email

West of Scotland Schools Boccia Group Photo

West of Scotland Schools Boccia

In partnership with the West of Scotland Schools Association, SDS ran the Schools Boccia Championships on Tuesday 24th January at the Emirates Arena Glasgow.  55 pupils from across 8 local authorities competed, with some excellent play from all participants.

We hope the pupils enjoyed the day and well done to everyone involved.

Medal Winners are below:

Physical Disability – A1
Gold: Zoe Irving, Langholm Academy, Dumfries & Galloway
Silver: Taylor McTaggart, St Mungo’s Academy, Glasgow
Bronze: Christopher Telfer, Dalmilling PS, South Ayrshire

Physical Disability – A2
Gold: Daniel McLaughlin, Annanhill Primary, East Ayrshire
Silver: Aiden Gibson, Craigmarloch, Inverclyde
Bronze: Connor McLauchlan, Kelbourne Park School, Glasgow

Physical Disability – Ramp players
Gold: Fraser Somerville, Mearns Castle, East Renfrewshire
Silver: Sophie Spence, Buchanan High, North Lanarkshire
Bronze: Faith Wright, Annanhill Primary, East Ayrshire

Learning Disability
Gold: Hayden Keir, Annan Academy, Dumfries & Galloway
Silver: Michael Gilhooly, Hollybrook, Glasgow
Bronze: Calum Thomson, Hollybrook, Glasgow

Paralympian Stephen McGuire and ex-Paralympian Peter McGuire were on hand to encourage the competitors, give out the medals and have their picture taken with the pupils so big thanks to them.

Thanks also to the Celtic FC Foundation’s ‘Inspiring Sport’ project who funded the event, to the Emirates Arena for hosting and their help on the day, and Ayrshire College students for officiating.

Logo of Disability Snowsport UK

Scottish Guide wins Downhill Gold and Double Silver

Britain’s Millie Knight won downhill gold on the opening day of the IPC World Para Alpine Skiing Championships in Italy and was led to victory by her Scottish guide Brett Wild.

The visually impaired 18-year-old, who was GB’s youngest athlete at the Sochi 2014 Paralympics, completed the course in one minute 13.42 seconds and was 1.2 seconds faster than Five-time Paralympic champion Henrieta Farkasova of Slovakia.

GB officials are claiming that Knights success is Britain’s first-ever World Para skiing title and are excited by the 18 year olds prospects at next year’s Winter Paralympics in Pyeongchang.

Wild, from Bearsden in Glasgow, has been supporting Knight for the past year and following some early success, Parasnowsports GB requested he join them full time. A top skier himself, he raced for the Scottish junior development squad as well as for the royal Navy, where he is a Submariner.

Boor further honours in the Super G event on Thursday.

The pair also added a further two silver medals in the super combined and giant slalom to complete an excellent showing at the World Para Alpine Skiing Championships.