Disability Sport Fife (DSF) recognised a significant number of performance Para athletes at the Annual Awards Evening supported by the Fife Sports and Leisure Trust. 2016/2017 has been a very successful period for Fife Para athletes with more successes in more sports locally and nationally. Nominations for individual awards have never been stronger across all sports.
Past Chairman of Scottish Disability Sport, Jim Thomson, and DSF lead athletics coach Pamela Robson, presented the Jack Rennie Cup to GB Paralympian Derek Rae the stand out candidate for the athlete of the year award. Selection for Rio and a third successive PB (2:33.24) in the Virgin Money London Marathon ensured the Cup was heading back again to the Rae household and deservedly so. The award is presented in the name of past Paralympian Colin Keay from Kirkcaldy who was a multi medalist at the Paralympic Games in 1984 and 1988 in USA and South Korea.
For the second successive year Ollie Carter from Cupar and Carnegie Swimming Club was awarded the Leslie Inglis Trophy as the Swimmer of the Year. Ollie was unable to attend the Awards Evening but the audience listened to a list of the young Fife swimmer’s achievements over the past 12 months. One S10 Scottish record after another has been broken with highlights being the lowering of the 100m freestyle record to 59.13 and being the first Scottish physically disabled swimmer to break one minute for 100 metres freestyle at the Scottish Championships.
Michael Simpson from Strathmiglo BC was also unable to attend but his award as Bowler of the Year was presented to his Scottish Team Mate Barbara McMillan who will also head out to Broadbeach in Australia for the Test Match prior to the Commonwealth Games in 2018. Michael captained the Scottish Para Bowls Team to success in Glasgow at the Home Nations in 2016 and Runners Up position in Wales in 2017. Michael is a member of the Scottish Para Bowls extended squad preparing for the Commonwealth Games in 2018.
Footballer of the Year and winner of the Penman Family Award was Shakeel Ul Haq from Lochgelly HS. Shakeel was top scorer in the S3-S6 Division of the DSF 7s Football League and will lead the Lochgelly HS team at the Scottish Championships in Glasgow later in the year. Jim Thomson and Brian Sim from Lochgelly HS made the presentation to Shakeel, the first Lochgelly HS pupil to win the award.
Mark Gaffney from Scottish Disability Sport and Jim Thomson presented the Ian McNab Memorial Rosebowl to Callum Sloan from Dunfermline who was voted wheelchair athlete of the year. Callum set a three minute PB at the 2017 London mini marathon and has led the way in wheelchair racing in Fife for the past few years. The Thursday after school DSF run, jump, push and throw session at Pitreavie started out as an individual training session for Callum but now has 17 physically and visually impaired athletes attending. Callum has been the inspiration for this weekly session’s development.
Kerry Hick, wife of the late John Hick, and Jim Thomson presented for the first time the John Hick Cup to the badminton player of the year. The late Russell Hogg has had a major influence in the development of the sport in Fife along with DSF coaches Alex Bird, Euan Bell, Julie Hogg plus Jane Russell from Badminton Scotland. John Hick was the first Fife player to compete in the Home Nations Championships. The first recipient was Lloyd Simpson from Methil, winner of the men’s Open at the Fife Championships and also the internal DSF Badminton League. In addition Lloyd was a member of the Fife squad that successfully participated in the First Scottish Championships earlier in the year in Edinburgh.
Jim Thomson and Derek Rae presented the Aileen Harper Award to Sam Fernando from Fife AC who was voted the Junior Sports Person of the Year. Sam has established himself as the leading T20 under 20 athlete in the UK across a range of middle and long distances. Sam is an exciting talent following in the footsteps of his Fife AC team mate Owen Miller who has led the way in Scotland in the T20 class for many years and last year represented Team GB at the INAS European Championships in Turkey. Sam is coached by Ron Morrison and Owen by Steve Doig.
Cameron Hemphill from Ladybank was identified as the Most Improved Swimmer of the Year and received the Woodlands Parents Trophy, the day after the Awards Evening. This particular award is in the name of five times Paralympian Paul Noble from Glenrothes SC who medalled in every Games he contested. Cameron moved from Cupar and District SC last year to INCAS to be coached by Garrie Roberts and ever since he has made significant progress in all his events. Representative honours have come his way and his commitment to training has become even more intense. Most definitely a young swimmer to watch.
Richard Brickley MBE – President Disability Sport Fife