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South Lanarkshire Sports Awards
South Lanarkshire Sports Awards winners. From left: Diane McDonald(accepting coach of the Year Award on behalf of Brian Ross) Meg Finnon (Junior female), Councillor Hamish Stewart, Depute Provost Pam Clearie, Graham Ord (Senior Male) and Brian Gilbride (accepting award on behalf of his son Aidan Gilbride Junior male winner)
East Kilbride athletes secured an awards treble for the town at the South Lanarkshire Sports Personality of the Year.
Whitemoss heptathlete Emma Canning – fresh from her victory at the EK Sports Awards last month where she was the overall winner – was crowned the top amateur sports woman in the region.
There was also success for Lindsayfield pair Meg Finnon and Aidan Gilbride. Swimmer Meg took home the junior female prize and Aidan won the junior male prize, which recognised athletes’ performances in 2015.
Unfortunately, neither Emma or Aidan were in attendance at Hamilton Town House to collect their prizes, although Aidan’s dad Brian collected the trophy on his behalf.
Emma won a number of Scottish and British titles at under-20 level last year as well as helping Team GB to a team silver medal at the European International Combined events match to sway the judges.
She was in Portugal at a training camp on the day of the awards – as she prepares for next month’s Scottish Combined Events Championships – but she was thrilled to claim another title.
The 19-year-old said, “I was honoured to win the East Kilbride award, so to win this is a really pleasant surprise and I’m gutted I wasn’t able to attend.
“I was shocked when I heard the news last week but I wouldn’t have even had the opportunity to be nominated for this award without the commitment and dedication my coach Iain McEwan puts in to ensuring I’m physically conditioned and technically sharp going into competitions.
“I always make an effort to put across the point that despite the fact athletics is an individual event, the preparation and everything outwith the competition is about working with a team who support you and help you during the hard training days, so I have to thank my training partners as well.”
The East Kilbride champions fought off competition from the winners of local awards in the Hamilton, Clydesdale and Rutherglen/Cambuslang areas to lift their trophies.
Hamilton rower Graham Ord beat EK cyclist Kyle Johnston to the adult male award, while Clydesdale-based Pony Club coach Brian Ross pipped EK Swim Team’s Andy Figgins to the coach of the year award.
Meg impressed the judges with two silver medals wins at the Commonwealth Youth Games in Samoa last year, while Aidan’s victory came off the back of winning the Scottish Indoor Under-20 800m title and taking silver in the outdoor discipline during 2015.
Trophies on the night were presented by Deputy Provost Pam Clearie. She said: “This has been a wonderful opportunity to acknowledge all the excellent achievements and sporting stars from across South Lanarkshire.
“It takes a lot of hard work and dedication to succeed to the level that our award winners have achieved this year and I’m sure they will continue to go forward and achieve even greater heights in the years ahead.”