By JIM TAIT
CYLIST Christine McLean was named sportsperson of the year on Friday in the second annual Shetland Sports Awards.
In what was a good evening all round for the female nominees, Unst sprinter Faye Richardson was crowned young sportsperson of the year and athletics coach Elaine Park was chosen as coach of the year, with the Anderson High School girls’ netball team lifting the young team of the year award.
Meanwhile Delting Football Club was named team of the year, a fitting reward for claiming an unprecedented seven senior Shetland championships in a row.
McLean, who this year won a host of gold and silver medals at time trials around the country, was a fortnight ago listed as the best British veteran woman performer for 2008.
The port officer at Sella Ness, who lives in Levenwick, said the sportsperson of the year award was the perfect climax to her season.
“It’s been a fantastic year. I just can’t believe how well it has all gone. And this is the icing on the cake.”
McLean received her trophy from former Scalloway and Shetland footballer Ian Gray, who earlier in the evening during his keynote speech highlighted the vast difference in the wide sporting achievements from his own playing days.
Another feature of Friday’s awards dinner, sponsored by Shetland Recreational Trust and The Shetland Times and held at Clickimin Centre, was the way various different areas of Shetland were represented.
Also nominated for the top award were Sandwick badminton player Kevin Smith, who this year won the Shetland singles championship for the 12th year in a row, and Unst squash player Jamie Macaulay, who is currently in training with the Scottish team for the forthcoming world doubles championships.
Others in the running in the young sportsperson category were horse rider Arianne Fraser, from Whalsay, and Weisdale-based fencer Sophie Drosso.
Nominated in the coach of the year section were Delting football manager John Jamieson, who recently took over the Shetland job, and fencing stalwart Andy Alderman, from Nesting.
Also receiving nominations in the team of the year category were the senior Shetland badminton inter-county team, which has defeated Orkney for 23 years in a row, and the Shetland rugby team, which regularly competes in the national leagues.
Nominated in the young team of the year section were the overall Shetland junior inter-county squad, which trounced Orkney last summer, and the under-15 girls’ athletics team which triumphed in the Scottish Sportshall championship.
Delting boss Jamieson said he was “very proud” that the club had won the accolade, adding that it was testament to the hard work of everyone involved.
“It says something for the whole club, not only the players, but a whole lot of effort has gone into Delting Football Club from the committee and down. Everybody’s hard work has paid off.”
The evening’s master of ceremonies was MSP Tavish Scott, who complemented all the winners and nominees on their fine achievements.
The other main presentations were made by Shetland Recreational Trust chairman Joe Irvine, Shetland Times editor Paul Riddell, Shetland Islands Council convener Sandy Cluness and Sheriff Graeme Napier.