The countdown is on to the 2015 Kirkcaldy and Central Fife Sports Council awards night.
The annual awards, supported by The Fife Free Press Group, is the largest celebration of sport in Fife.
This year, for the first time, we include our top sports professionals as we introduce the new Kirkcaldy & Central Fife Sports Star of the Year award.
A shortlist has been produced for this prestigious award, with the winner to be decided by a text vote in The Fife Free Press, Glenrothes Gazette and East Fife Mail - and here on Fife Today.
Up for nomination are East Fife’s top scorer Nathan Austin, UFC superstar Steven Ray, motor racing champion Jonny Adam, and unbeaten pro boxer Connor Law.
We are now in the final week of voting, which closes on Monday, January 11, so be sure to vote for your favourite now using our text service (details below) and you’ll also be entered into our prize draw for a £50 voucher to spend at top Kirkcaldy High Street sports retailer ACA Sports.
Nominations are also open for the other nine award categories - open only to individuals and clubs with amateur status - and the winners will be decided by a judging panel in the new year.
All winners will be announced at the KCFSC awards ceremony in the Fife College’s St Brycedale campus on Thursday, March 3.
KIRKCALDY & CENTRAL FIFE SPORTS STAR OF THE YEAR - THE NOMINEES:
NATHAN AUSTIN (FOOTBALL)
Nathan Austin is the local boy who made the remarkable journey from amateur football to the senior game. The striker, nicknamed Fash, has gone from playing on public parks with his mates to the leading scorer at East Fife within the space of two years. Fash was starring for Leven United when he was spotted and signed by East Fife in 2013 at the age of 19. The striker has since made over 80 appearances for his home town club, scoring 31 times from 58 starts. 2015 has been a breakthrough year with an impressive 21 goals in 36 games - including four in one match against Elgin City in March - sending scouts flocking to Bayview. It would be no surprise if the 21-year-old makes the move to a bigger club soon. Becoming a professional footballer is far from easy, very few actually make it, and Austin is a tremendous example to local youngsters of what can be achieved with hard work and dedication.
To vote for Nathan text FFPSPORT01 followed by your name and address to 65550
JONNY ADAM (MOTORSPORT)
Jonny Adam’s driving talents were evident in his teenage years as he claimed back-to-back Scottish karting titles in the late 90s. Since then, the Kirkcaldy-born star has proven himself to be one of the UK’s most talented motor racers - and 2015 was arguably his best year to date. It was certainly his busiest as the Aston Martin factory driver competed in a remarkable 24 races across various championships spanning the globe, earning five wins, eight podiums and five pole positions. The highlight of the year was clinching the British GT Championship with Beechdean AMR alongside team mate Andrew Howard. Jonny also claimed podiums in the European Le Mans Series, and in the FIA World Endurance Championship. The 31-year-old also won this year’s Sunoco Whelen Challenge, an individual point scoring system between drivers across Europe. The prize was a drive in next year’s Daytona 24 Hour - one of the world’s most prestigious endurance races.
To vote for Jonny text FFPSPORT02 followed by your name and address to 65550
STEVEN RAY (MARTIAL ARTS)
As triumphant moments go, Stevie Ray couldn’t have asked for a better one. When he walked into the octagon at UFC Fight Night Glasgow in July, Stevie broke new ground: a Scotsman fighting in front of his countrymen in the first UFC event held in Scotland. Even better, he rewarded his fans by delivering a spectacular knockout, earning himself a $50,000 Performance of the Night bonus. Stevie’s first-round finish of Leonardo Mafra brought him full circle, from a young father living on benefits in Kirkcaldy to a rising star in the UFC. Ray’s 19-5 record since becoming a professional mixed martial arts fighter includes three UFC wins, all achieved in 2015 following a victorious debut in Poland in April. But he admits to having struggled financially earlier in his career, working infrequently as a labourer and not always able to pay his rent. He wondered if he should continue pursuing an MMA career, but he didn’t give up or give in. He developed a sizable following among MMA fans in Scotland and earned the nickname “Braveheart.” He continued winning, and his big break in the UFC has made all the hardship worthwhile.
To vote for Steven text FFPSPORT03 followed by your name and address to 65550
CONNOR LAW (BOXING)
Connor Law has overcome the disappointment of narrowly missing out on the Commonwealth Games team in Glasgow in 2014 to make a sensational start to his career as a professional boxer. After winning his first pro bout at the end of 2014, the Glenrothes Boxing Club ace has gone on to claim a further six wins in 2015, five of which went the full distance. With a perfect 7(2)-0-0 pro record, the 23-year-old middleweight, who lives in Kelty, is certainly well on his way to making it to British title level. Connor’s 40-37 points victory over Matthew Mallin in September was a particular marker as his opponent had previously fought for the English middleweight title. The Fifer’s first six-round fight in October saw him step down to light-middleweight to face Cherif Sobgho, who held a record of two wins, two losses and a draw from his five encounters but Connor cruised home by a 60-53 points margin. Connor is trained at Glenrothes Boxing Club by Steven McGuire Snr.
To vote for Connor text FFPSPORT04 followed by your name and address to 65550
TERMS & CONDITIONS: Texts cost £1 plus your standard network rate. Please note that votes received after the stated closing deadline will not be counted but you may still be charged. 18+ and UK residents only. Please obtain the billpayer’s permission before entering. For quality and training purposes we may monitor communications. Vote run by Fife Today. SMS services are provided by Johnston Press. Helpline: 01592645700.