As 2012 draws to a close, we can look back on one of the greatest sporting years of all time. And on Sunday night, in a glittering awards ceremony, some of Scotland’s sporting heroes will have the chance to bask in the glow of appreciation for their sterling efforts throughout the year.
The sixth annual Sunday Mail and sportscotland Scottish Sports Awards takes place at Glasgow’s Thistle Hotel on Thursday and the glittering occasion will be screened by STV on Sunday evening (Dec 8th) at 9.40pm.
A panel of experts have sifted through thousands of public nominations to draw up the shortlist. Choosing a winner from the five names up for Scottish Sports Personality of the Year will be a tough task in a year when so many stars have shone so brightly.
Sir Chris Hoy What can you say about the cycling legend that hasn’t already been said? An ambassador at the Olympic Games, the Edinburgh man led Team GB out as the flag carrier at the opening ceremony. Winning gold in the team sprint with a world record, he then became the most successful British Olympian ever, eclipsing even Sir Steve Redgrave, when he won another gold in the Keirin. That took his medal tally to seven, six of them gold. A final hurrah may yet be in store in the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
Andy Murray It has been a spectacular year for the Dunblane lad who overcame heartbreak in the Wimbledon final to destroy his nemesis Roger Federer and lift Olympic gold. A silver followed in the mixed doubles before Murray showed his mettle to win his first grand slam, at his fifth attempt, at the US Open, beating Novak Djokovic in a gruelling five-set battle of nerve and skill in blustery conditions. Having won the first two sets, the Croat pegged Murray bag only to be blown away in the fifth set as Murray became the first British man to win a singles grand slam since 1936 and finished the year ranked number three in the world.
Katherine Grainger Who will forget the scenes of sheer joy and relief as Katherine and Anna Watkins powered to Olympic gold in the double sculls? After picking up silver in Sydney, Athens and Beijing, there may have been nagging doubts that the popular rower would get the top spot on the podium. However, having smashed the world record in the semi-final, there was never going to be any other outcome in the final and the nation cheered as Katherine got the medal she had spent so many years in pursuit of.
Paul Lawrie It was a great year for the Aberdeen golfer, starting with victory in the Qatar Masters for the second time in his career. He then skipped the US Open as he attempted to secure a place in the 2012 Ryder Cup, which he nailed with victory at the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles. Lawrie played his part in the ‘Miracle at Medinah’, one of the greatest comebacks in Ryder Cup history, when Europe overcame a four point deficit on the final day to lift the trophy against a stunned United States. He finished the season in the top ten of the Order of Merit for the first time in a decade and is in the running for the captain’s role for the 2014 Ryder Cup, back at Gleneagles.
Ricky Burns The Coatbridge boy is yet another Scot who has had a fantastic year and is pound-for-pound one of the best fighters around. He has twice defended his WBO Lightweight title, against Paulus Moses and Kevin Mitchell, dismissing the latter in four rounds. His next fight is against Liam Walsh at the ExCeL in London and here’s hoping the Lanarkshire pugilist tops off a great 12 months to keep his crown.
Sir Chris Hoy, Katherine Grainger and Andy Murray are also nominated for an award in the Inspirational Performance of the Year while Celtic boss Neil Lennon is up for Coach/Manager of the Year after winning the SPL title and qualifying for the group stages of the Champions League, where Parkhead was treated to one of its finest hours when the injury hit Celts stunned the football world by beating the mighty Barcelona.
It’s sure to be a great night for Scottish sports men, women and fans so make sure you don’t miss it.
A full list of nominees is as follows:
INSPIRATIONAL PERFORMANCE OF THE YEAR
Andy Murray (US Open Final)
Katherine Grainger (Olympic double sculls gold)
Sir Chris Hoy (Keirin Olympic gold)
COACH/MANAGER OF THE YEAR
Neil Lennon (Football)
Anna Signeul (Women’s football)
Laurel Bailey (Swimming)
David Somerville (Judo)
LOCAL CLUB OF THE YEAR
East Sutherland Wheelers (Cycling)
Hamilton Gymnastics Club
Aberdeen Schools Rowing Association
LOCAL HERO OF THE YEAR
Linda Nicholson (Netball)
John MacDonald (Athletics)
Vince Krawczyk (Volleyball)
Larbert High School
Wallace High School
EVENT OF THE YEAR
Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open (Golf)
freshnlo Pedal For Scotland (Cycling)
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup(Cycling)
YOUNG SPORTS PERSON
Jack McDonald (Golf)
Kirsty Gilmour (Badminton)
Craig Benson (Swimming)
Neil Fachie (Cycling)
David Smith (Rowing)
Alasdair Berry (Golf)
Libby Clegg (Athletics)