Honours for county’s sport stars

Angus’s sports stars were lauded for their achievements at the 18th annual Angus Sports Awards in Forfar’s Reid Hall on Thursday.

Organised by Angus Council’s sports develpment team, the awards celebrated the commitment and edication of individuals and teams across the county.

Yhana Van Wees of Tayside Musketeers Basketball Club was named Sports Personality of the Year. Yhana was crowned MVP in the Senior Women’s Scottish Cup, while still a junior player; she represented Scotland at Under-18 in the European Championships and her playing statistics through this competition place her within the top 10 in Europe at U18 level.

Yhana has been selected for the Scottish Senior Women’s Teams and has been invited to attend GB Under-20 trials.

Kerry Duncan of Tayside Special Olympics collected the Sports Personality of the Year Award for People with a Disability. Kerry competed in badminton at the Special Olympics National Games in Bath as part of the Tayside Team, winning silver in the singles and fourth place in the doubles.

She also competed in the Badminton Five Nations Tournament, winning gold in the singles and doubles, and was one of 12 athletes to become the ‘face’ of the Special Olympics Great Britain 2013 Games.

Young Sports Personality of the Year went to Sarah McKenzie of Dundee Gymnastics Club who achieved great success in 2013 by winning Individual Gold at the Greater Manchester Open Championships and team gold in the Gordon Foster Team competition. Other national level achievements included a team silver at the Scottish Championships and individual bronze and team bronze in the Scottish Championships and UK School Games.

Laura Hare of the Tayside Musketeers Basketball Club was named Coach of the Year. Laura was appointed assistant coach for the Scottish Under-18 National Women’s squad in 2013 and coached the team at the European B Championships in Hungary. She also coached four separate teams from Arbroath High School and of the four teams, three reached finals and two teams, the senior girls and under-14 girls became Scottish Schools Cup Champions. Laura has coached nine female players to Scotland National Squads, from under-14 to senior women, with one also attending trials for the GB under-20 team. Other shortlisted finalists were Scott Haxton, Liz Martin and Scott Nicoll.

Tayside Special Olympics – Team 2013 were Team of the Year winners. The team had a fantastic year in 2013, capped with their involvement in the National Special Olympics in Bath. The team including 70 Angus athletes competed in a wide range of sports including Swimming, Athletics, Football, Boccia, Table Tennis, Badminton, Ten Pin Bowling and Golf.

The team won a fantastic medal haul of 48 gold, 38 silver and 37 bronze and of the 120 medals won 55 per cent of them went to Angus Athletes. Other shortlisted finalists were Arbroath United Cricket Club 1st XI and Arbroath High School S3 netball team.

School Sport Volunteer of the Year went to Joe McCall of Carnoustie High School who has volunteered many hours every week to coach the school’s fencing club. Joe and the club have been hugely successful in 2013, achieving gold and bronze medals at the Scottish Secondary Schools competition and having two girls’ teams competing in the epee event. He coached the school to ‘Best Overall Girls’ School’ at the Scottish Secondary Schools competition. Other shortlisted finalists were Karen Pithie and Ron McDonald.

A new category for this year’s award was the Club Volunteer of the Year Awards, sponsored by Special Olympics Great Britain which went to Bob Cassidy of Tayside Special Olympics. Bob is an active and valued member of the executive committee. His commitment is exemplary, always displaying a positive attitude and desire to help others, regardless of the impact on his own wellbeing.

At the National Summer Games in Bath 2013, Bob proudly led the Tayside Boccia team to great success. This was just after he and the athletes experienced a particularly difficult time and had it not been for Bob many of the athletes would have withdrawn from the games. Bob regularly transports athletes to and from training as well as providing support to athletes and coaches from other sports within the Tayside Special Olympics team. Other shortlisted finalists were Janice Crow and Caroline Campbell.

The Service to Sport Award, sponsored by Dundee and Angus College, went to John Grant of the Tayside Musketeers Basketball Club. John has been committed to the development of basketball in Angus for over 20 years. In 1993, he founded and was head coach of Arbroath Musketeers Basketball Club, now renamed Tayside Musketeers due to the growth and development of the club under John’s stewardship. John has been pivotal in ensuring the sustainability of the club through effective and successful recruitment of coaches, officials and administrators.

During his tenure as head coach, the club won Scottish Cup and National League titles with many of his players progressing to Scottish national teams. In addition to John’s coaching role at the club, he has volunteered many hours at holiday camps, providing CPD and mentoring for coaches. In 2013 John decided to step back from the club but his legacy of ‘Once a Musketeer, always a Musketeer’ lives on through the club. Other shortlisted finalists were Laura Smith and David Strachan.

Speaking at the event, Councillor Jeanette Gaul, communities vice-convener, said: “I’m delighted to be here to be part of the recognition and reward for all those involved in sport across Angus. All of the award nominees and winners are proactively representing Angus and I’m delighted to be highlighting the positive features that sport and physical activity can bring to Angus.”