The first of the nominations for this year’s Shetland Sports Awards sponsored by The Shetland Times and Shetland Recreational Trust can be announced today.
The trio nominated for the 2009 coach of the year are: Derrick Bradley, Martin Leyland and Ian Williamson.
Nominations in the other categories – Young team of the year; Team of the year; Young sportsperson of the year; and Sportsperson of the year – will be made public next week and on the 21st.
The winner of the SRT/Shetland Times Fit Club competition, whose participants were Susan Anderson, Elaine Jamieson, Graham MacAllister, Tam Rowley, Catriona Campbell, Terry Williamson and Gordon Williamson, will also be announced at the awards.
The ceremony itself takes place on Friday 27th November at the Clickimin Leisure Centre with a 7.30 for 8pm start. Tickets will go on sale on Wednesday priced £23 and can be obtained by phoning the centre on (01595) 741000.
Coach of the Year (nominations)
Bradley is currently in charge of the Shetland women’s football team, which this year recorded their fourth straight win in inter-county matches against Orkney since being formed in 2005.
The women have also beaten many mainland teams in friendlies and made it to the second round of the Scottish Cup on two occasions.
Previously Bradley had a tremendous record during his 13 years as coach of the Shetland senior men’s team, while he has also led the under-18 football team to wins in the junior inter-county.
One of the women’s squad, Karen MacKelvie, has described Bradley as an “awesome” manager.
Leyland, a former sprinter himself who has competed successfully more recently on the veteran circuit, has coached the Shetland Amateur Athletics Club squad for several years.
Some of his hard work has paid off in the past, particulary in 2005 when Faye Richardson memorably won a silver medal at the island games in Shetland.
This year at the island games in Åland, Leyland had even more justification to feel proud of the achievements of his protégés, with Emma Leask racing to a gold medal in the women’s 800 metres and following it up with a bronze in the 4×400 metres relay, along with her team mates Inga Woods, Megan Smith and Allie Elphinstone.
Williamson, widely regarded as Shetland’s greatest ever distance runner, winning gold himself at the island games, has become more and more involved in the coaching side of things in recent years.
When not running himself Williamson spends hours with the many talented distance runners in the isles, including Katie Bristow, Joshua Morrison and Bobby Bristow who have all represented Scotland in the past few years.
His training sessions are rigorous but also enjoyed greatly by those who participate in them.
He has also worked with island games gold medallists Michelle Sandison and Claire Wilson, the latter paying a generous tribute to his efforts and describing him as “the nicest man on the planet”.