The eighth annual Kirkcaldy & Central Fife Sports Council Awards were held in Fife College, Kirkcaldy on Thursday, March 3.
The ceremony honoured the top achievers in sport from the local area over 2015 with another wide variety of sports featured, including two world champions and numerous British and national title winners.
A total of 12 awards were up for grabs including, for the first time, the new professional award, Sports Star of the Year, voted for by readers of The Fife Free Press, Glenrothes Gazette and East Fife Mail.
The event was once again organised and hosted by sports council secretary, Ken White, while on stage interviews were conducted by Fife Free Press sports editor Matthew Elder.
Guest speaker David Watt, executive director for the Institute of Directors in Scotland, gave a behind the scenes insight into his time as a Commonwealth Games gymnastics coach.
The full list of winners and runners-up were as follows:
FIFE FREE PRESS GROUP SPORTS STAR OF THE YEAR
WINNER: Steven Ray, mixed martial arts
As triumphant moments go, Stevie Ray couldn’t have asked for a better one.
When he walked into the octagon at UFC 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.
Connor Law, boxer - unbeaten Glenrothes Boxing Club professional with 6/6 record in 2015
Nathan Austin, footballer - East Fife’s top scorer in 2015 with 24 goals from 44 games
Jonny Adam, motorsport - claimed the British GT Championship with Beechdean Aston Martin
POLICE SCOTLAND (FIFE DIVISION) JUNIOR AWARD
WINNER: Adam Scott, athletics
Adam, from Kirkcaldy, is a young man who, despite moving up to the lower end of a two year age group, completed another outstanding year in 2015 and managed an impressive number of victories.
Competing in the 17 and under age group he convincingly won the Scottish National Indoor 3000 metres Championship while still just being 14 at the time. In the same event he repeated his winning ways in the Scottish Schools Championships and then in July became the British Schools under 17 Champion again at 3000m.
He placed third at the English Age Group Championships and representing Scotland at the UK School Games was placed fourth. At the end of 2015 as a 15-year-old he was ranked fourth overall in the UK which is an impressive feat.
In February 2015 he won the Scottish National Cross Country Championships for under 15s. He was selected to represent Scotland in the Celtic Games and chosen as the U16s Male team captain. He lead from the front in the 800m and helped the team to win the gold medal.
He also competed on the road again winning a Scottish Title at under 15 age group. From this he was selected to represent Scotland at the Virgin Money Mini London Marathon where he just lost out on victory by one second.
Niamh Doran, climbing - Glenrothes girl aged 11 finished second in Scottish Youth Competition last September
James Gray, judo - won four golds in national events, and a silver medal at the British Championships in Sheffield
MACGREGOR SOLICITORS YOUTH AWARD
WINNER: Chloe Dickson, fencing
Glenrothes girl Chloe is no stranger to these awards having gone from strength to strength over the past three to four years.
She continues to compete at the highest level representing Scotland and Great Britain and although still 20 years of age is now representing both at Senior level.
She is currently under 20 Scottish Women’s Champion and the under 23 British Women’s Champion in her main discipline.
She was captain of the Scottish Junior Women’s team that travelled to South Africa last July where she won an individual silver but the team took gold by beating a strong English Team.
As well as participating she is now a qualified referee in two disciplines of the sport and A level 2 coach in her main discipline.
She has been visiting some local primary schools and is the main coach to her younger sister, Rebecca, who is ranked first in Scotland under 15s.
Her main goals are to move up the GB Senior ranking table, to continue to represent Scotland at Senior Commonwealth and 5 Nations events and Great Britain in World Cup Events. Her last World Cup was in Paris in November as part of a four woman team where she won all her matches to assist her team’s victories against Japan and Hong Kong who are both ranked much higher than GB.
Greg Watson, swimming - won the 50m Freestyle Scottish title at the Scottish National Short Course Championships in December
Hope Jensen, downhill mountain biking - Windygates girl ranked as the number one Junior in the UK in downhill mountain bike riding
FIFE SPORT AND LEISURE TRUST SENIOR AWARD
WINNER: Kirstin Gray, judo
Glenrothes mother-of-three Kirstin had a very successful year competing and winning medals in a number of events throughout Britain including a gold medal at the British Masters Championships for the third year in succession.
However in February 2015, she started to train specifically for her main event which included setting goals, a training plan, and a diet and nutrition plan in the run up to the event.
In the competition, in Amsterdam, in September, she competed against contestants from France, Belgium, USA and Germany.
In her final contest she performed an Ippon score throw within 30 seconds of the start which gave her the gold medal and the IJF World Veterans Championship title.
She competed in the sport when she was younger and returned after having her three children.
Her goal now is to successfully defend her world title which is to be held at Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Celia Smith, bowls - Scottish interntional bowler who won the Scottish Ladies pairs title and four club titles at East Fife Indoor Bowling Club
Derek Rae, athletics - Kirkcaldy man made his GB debut in the 2015 IPC World Marathon Championships where he finished first in his class
PLM OPTOMETRISTS DISABILITY AWARD
WINNER: Martin Hunter, bowling
Martin, from Burntisland Bowling Club, enjoyed outstanding results at club level in all forms of the game.
In mainstream events he has earned the reputation of being a tough competitor. In Disability Sport Fife and Scottish Disability Sport competitions he reigns supreme.
He was appointed team captain for the 2015 Home Nations Indoor International in Nottingham and although Scotland lost narrowly he played a significant role in encouraging and supporting the less experienced members of the team.
However his crowning glory came early in the year when he realised his dream to be selected to represent Scotland at the IBD World Championships in New Zealand.
He put himself under pressure by losing early matches by the narrowest of margins but completed his qualifying campaign with some spectacular victories against top opponents.
He saved his best until the semi-final and final where he put in his best performances against an outstanding Korean and then an Australian opponent which resulted in him winning the gold medal, and being crowned the IBD World Champion in the B7 disability class.
Daniel Malcolm, canoeing - Aspergers sufferer travelled was placed second in Division 8 category races in five out of the six marathon events across Scotland.
Lucy Walkup, swimming - Glenrothes swimmer just missed a podium finish in the 2015 World Deaf Swimming Championships held in Texas.
DUNDAS ESTATES COACH OF THE YEAR AWARD
WINNER: Scott Plews, ice hockey
A former Fife Flyer in his playing days, Scott coached the under 20s team at Kirkcaldy Ice Hockey Club to Scottish League and Cup success in 2015 and did so with the loss of just one point.
The Fife Falcons team were undefeated in the league and also won the UK tournament making it a clean sweep in the competitions entered in the 2014-15 season.
He achieved this success with a focus on teamwork and inclusion throughout the team.
While there are players at the top end of the skills level he ensures that players who do not have the same skills levels are still included in games.
He also encourages younger players to train with the team to prepare them for the huge step up from under 16 to under 20.
In addition to his local coaching position he was leading coach to the Scotland U17 team and assistant coach in the GB U16 set up.
He has always instilled a sense of discipline in his teams both on and off the ice and ensures they are a credit to the club.
Chris Greaves, cricket - guided Glenrothes Cricket Club to promotion to the Premier League, as undefeated champions, in his first season in charge.
Margaret Chapman, canoeing - Kirkcaldy Canoe Club picked up awards at the Scottish prizegiving and also returned excellent results in the British Club Championships.
KIRKCALDY & CENTRAL FIFE SPORTS COUNCIL JUNIOR/YOUTH TEAM AWARD
WINNER: Kirkcaldy Redskins, ice hockey
Redkins are the under 12 team at Kirkcaldy Ice Hockey Club.
The team has eight players in the under 13 Scottish Development Squad.
The success of the team must be attributed to coaches Steven King and Bean Anderson, who ensured all the players were given the opportunity to compete, ensuring they are developed to the best of their ability.
In addition to winning their Scottish League and Scottish Cup, the team also won Hockey UK and a tournament in Telford.
Kirkcaldy Chiefs, ice hockey - Under 14 team at Kirkcaldy Ice Hockey Club won the Scottish League, Scottish Cup and Hockey UK.
Forest Spirit Archers, archery - The team had a very successful year, with four of the team members winning a Scottish Championship in 2015.
KIRKCALDY & CENTRAL FIFE SPORTS COUNCIL TEAM AWARD
WINNERS: Kirkcaldy Kestrels, ice hockey
Kestrels had a very successful year in the 2014-15 season.
As the senior team within Kirkcaldy Ice Hockey Club, they also provide a critical stepping stone for young players to continue their development and give them the opportunity to use national level of competition as a means of making a career in the sport.
The team awards in 2015 included the Scottish League and Play-off Champions. This topped a fantastic year for the club and meant all the teams across all age groups within KIHC won their respective Scottish League – a feat that has never before been achieved in the Scottish game.
While this was a great achievement, even more pleasing was the fact the coaching team of Davie Smith and Steven Wishart had the confidence to give 10 young players from the under 20s team the opportunity to play at senior level.
These players played a big part in the success of the team. As a result, two players in particular showed enough promise to earn themselves professional contracts, albeit with other clubs in the UK.
Kingdom Kangaroos, Australian rules football - Eight players selected for the national team, while promoting the sport in high schools for first time
Glenrothes Cricket Club, cricket - won promotion to the Scottish Premier League in 2015 as undefeated champions of the East of Scotland Championship.
SALSC SERVICE TO SPORT AWARD
WINNER: David Duffy, bowls
David was an exemplary ambassador for his sport and his governing body.
He was a passionate participant and volunteer at Buckhaven Bowling Club for many years and was latterly club secretary and head coach, championing Positive Coaching Scotland to its leaders, coaches and parents.
He worked tirelessly to create links with local community groups and schools to help grow his own and other District clubs.
He enthusiastically undertook coaching qualifications and CPD training and helped his governing body to promote their courses and the benefits of governing body affiliation to other clubs in and beyond Fife. He built, developed and ran his club’s website and was always willing to help other clubs to do likewise. He also supported other local clubs to help them to develop and selflessly assisted them in any and every way he could, despite some of them being in direct competition with his own club for members.
He was also a committee member of Kirkcaldy and Central Fife Sports Council.
Sadly, David passed away toward the middle of January this year, leaving a massive hole at Buckhaven Bowling Club, Bowls Scotland and in the sport of bowls as a whole. He will be sorely missed.
Nicole Stewart, volunteer - Between July and December last year, she achieved over 75 hours voluntary work tracked through the Saltire Award
Alan Henderson, canoeing - Alan has over 13 years’ association with Kirkcaldy Canoe Club, as both a competitor and a coach.
HONORARY PRESIDENT’S SPECIAL AWARD
WINNER: Michelle Noonan, archery
The award is chosen solely by the sports council’s Honorary President, Marilyn Livingstone.
Marilyn selects one nomination from each category and then goes through each one, comparing and eliminating, until she comes up with someone who she feels had made a special achievement within their chosen sport.
The reason Marilyn chose this year’s winner, Michelle Noonan, was the combination of being a competitor in her chosen sport, overcoming a serious car crash from which she had to be cut free, her enthusiasm for archery and volunteering to help her club in a number of activities.
All this while studying for an HNC at Fife College, where she graduated in November and is now working at Cameron Hospital.
Michelle received her award from Kirkcaldy councillor Judy Hamilton.
GARRY INNES MEMORIAL SHIELD
WINNER: Derek Rae, athletics
Just over four years ago, the Kirkcaldy & Central Fife Sport Council sadly lost one of its stalwarts, with the death of Garry Innes at the age of 46.
Garry was on the committee from day one and represented disability sport.
He certainly made his views known, always putting disability sport to the fore.
Garry also served on the old Kirkcaldy District Sports Council around 20-plus years ago, again representing disability sport.
The Sports Council agreed, with the approval of Garry’s mother, to put up an award in Garry’s memory, The Garry Innes Memorial Shield.
Derek Rae was chosen as the winner for his achievements in athletics in 2015 (see senior award runner-up).
Derek becomes the first person to win the award for a second time.
FIFE COLLEGE SPORTS PERSONALITY OF THE YEAR AWARD
All the winners of the individual awards were considered for the Sports Personality Award.
WINNER: Chloe Dickson, fencing
The talented 20-year-old, from Glenrothes, took home her second award of the evening.
Chloe, Senior Scottish Open champion and Scotland’s number one female foilist, said she was “surprised and very delighted” with her triumph.
This month, she is taking part in open contests in Edinburgh and Birmingham, and coaching at a youth event in Poland.
Adam Scott, athletics
Kirstin Gray, judo