Following an outstanding Commonwealth Games in Glasgow earlier this month, where Team Scotland delivered its best ever performance, winning 53 medals including 19 Gold to finish fourth on the medal table, double Gold medallist Alex Marshall MBE was named Scottish Sportsperson of the Year 2014 and awarded the Emirates Lonsdale Trophy, at the Commonwealth Games Scotland Awards dinner in Glasgow tonight 15 August). He beat off stiff competition from two other finalists: Swimming’s Ross Murdoch and Para-Sport Cycling tandem duo Neil Fachie and Craig MacLean.
The dinner, organised by Commonwealth Games Scotland, is one of the highlights of the Scottish sporting calendar and recognises the achievements of Scotland’s athletes in Commonwealth Games Federation member sports over the past 12 months. This year was a celebration of the achievements of Team Scotland and the culmination of a hugely successful 12 year journey to Glasgow 2014 for Commonwealth Games Scotland.
Alex, a five-times Commonwealth Games representative, won Gold in both the Men’s Pairs event at Glasgow 2014 with Paul Foster and in the Fours with Neil Speirs, David Peacock and Paul Foster and is now Scotland’s most successful Commonwealth Games Bowler. He now ties with Allan Wells as the holder of the most Gold medals won by an individual Scottish athlete, after previous success in Manchester 2002 and Melbourne 2006. A legend of Scottish sport as a 19 times World Champion in both the Indoor and Outdoor codes, Alex led from the front as captain of the five-strong men’s bowls team that all won Gold medals – an unprecedented achievement. He was voted a deputy Flag bearer for Team Scotland for the Opening Ceremony for the Glasgow Games and was Flag Bearer at the Closing Ceremony.
Marshall will receive two Business Class flights to Dubai courtesy of Award sponsor Emirates - the Official Airline Partner of Glasgow 2014 and a cheque for £1000.
The other finalists, with outstanding performances at Glasgow 2014, were swimmer Ross Murdoch and Para-Sport Cycling tandem duo Neil Fachie and Craig MacLean.
They will receive runner-up cheques.
20-year-old Ross Murdoch has had a stellar season with his win in the 200m Breaststroke setting a Commonwealth, Commonwealth Games, British and Scottish Record and making him the current number one ranked athlete in the world and third fastest of all time. His look and reaction on finishing and realising he had won has become one of the images of the Games. His 200m Gold was swiftly followed by a Bronze in the 100m Breaststroke where he set a Scottish record and he went on to be part of the Scottish record setting 4x100m Medley Relay team. Training at the University of Stirling, under coach, Ben Higson, Ross made his breakthrough at last year’s World Championships making the semi-finals of the 100m Breaststroke and hasn’t looked backed since. He travels out to the European Championships in Berlin this weekend, where he will be aiming to build on his growing international reputation.
Para-Sport athlete Neil Fachie switched from competing at the Paralympics as a track and field athlete to enjoy incredible success on the bike, winning a Gold and Silver in London with pilot Barney Storey, as well as success at World Championships with both Storey and Craig MacLean. Teaming up in Glasgow with fellow Scot MacLean, himself a multiple world champion, Commonwealth Games Gold medallist and former Team Scotland Flag bearer, the duo delivered double Gold on the track setting Commonwealth Games records. This makes Fachie, the reigning World, Paralympic and Commonwealth Champion and the current world record holder in the Para-Sport B Tandem 1000m time trial for visually impaired athletes.
Announcing the award, Commonwealth Games Scotland Chairman Michael Cavanagh said: “The last few weeks has given Scotland so many new sporting heroes and great moments that will live on in the memory for years to come, which together resulted in Team Scotland’s most successful Games ever.
“Selecting just one winner was an incredibly difficult task, and I am sure we all have our own personal Games highlight, but the achievements of our men’s bowlers led by Alex Marshall was quite outstanding and when added to Alex’s long list of achievements at world level, it clearly makes him a very worthy winner. I am delighted that Emirates are supporting the Lonsdale trophy again this year so we can properly recognise their achievements.”
Also presented tonight was the Sir Peter Heatly Trophy for the outstanding Young Sportsperson of the year. Established by the Heatly family in 2013, this year’s nominees were Erraid Davies, Swimming; Katie Archibald. Cycling and Kirsty Gilmour, Badminton.
Scotland’s youngest ever team member 13 year old Erraid became the darling of the pool and an inspiration to the nation with her Bronze medal in the SB9 100m Breaststroke, beating her personal best both in the heats and in the final. Training in her home in Shetland in a 16.75m pool at the most northerly active swimming club in the UK, she became a worldwide Twitter sensation with her achievements at Glasgow 2014.
Katie had a breakthrough year in 2013/14 year wining Gold as part of the British Pursuit team at the World and European cycling championships, as well as winning team and individual medals in rounds of the World Cup series. In Glasgow Katie won a Bronze medal on the track in the Points Race by securing a win in the final sprint of the race and then went on to compete in the road Time Trial and was the lead rider for Scotland in the Road Race.
Going from World number 45 to world number 17 and number 2 in Europe, Kirsty has had phenomenal year, winning world ranking events in Spain, Sweden and Scotland, and reaching the finals of the London Grand Prix Gold event and the Scottish Open Grand Prix. Kirsty capped off her year by achieving the best ever result by a female badminton player at the Commonwealth Games, winning Silver in the Women’s Singles on the last day of competition.
This was another tough decision for the judging panel, but it was cyclist Katie Archibald that was announced as the winner.
More than 700 people from Scottish sport and business joined in the celebrations at Glasgow’s Thistle Hotel including 200 athletes and staff who had taken part in the Team Scotland celebration parade in the City earlier in the day.
Photo credit: Rob Hardie