LDS AGM & ANNUAL AWARDS NIGHT
The LDS AGM was held at Meggetland Sports Complex on Monday 17th June 2019. This preceded the Annual Awards Ceremony as LDS continue to recognise the considerable achievements of athletes, clubs, coaches and volunteers over the previous twelve months and celebrate the consequent impact these individuals have on disability sport across the Lothian region. LDS are proud to work alongside and support a whole host of talented, dedicated and inspirational individuals.
Multi medal winning Paralympian Jim Anderson OBE presented to awards to the following winners:
Senior Sportsperson of the Year - Ken Talbot (handcycling)
Keen cyclist Ken Talbot embarked on a truly amazing journey in 2018, aiming to break the world hand cycling record as part of a University of Liverpool Velocipede team competing at the World Human Powered Speed Challenge (WHPSC) held in Nevada, United States of America.
Edinburgh based Talbot, took on the challenge and pushed the limits of handcycling and his personal fitness, aiming to ‘realise a childhood dream and go beyond the limits of disability to become one of the fastest cyclists on the planet’.
Ken was selected to take part in the World Human Powered Speed Challenge in Battle Mountain, Nevada where top riders join forces with engineers to push the boundaries in the cycling world.
he recorded a speed of 51.86mph to become the fastest man ever on a hand cycle – breaking the previous record which had stood since 2011! In the process, Talbot also become the first ever person to record speeds of over 50mph on a hand cycle.
Young Sportsperson of the Year - Kate Bolan (swimming) -
Kate has had to overcome some challenges in her swimming career as not only is she visually impaired, in recent years she has been diagnosed with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome Type 3 and POTS – as symptoms from these conditions Kate suffers mostly with hypermobility with weak fragile joints (easy dislocations), circulation issues and chronic pain. However, her passion and love for swimming has never faded.
This passion was rewarded this year when she broke 2 records. The first of those came at the SDS Senior Swimming Championships where she set the event record for the 100m back and this was followed up by her performances at the British Para World Series 2019 where she recorded a 17 second PB for 400m Free, only to take a further 12 second off of that time in the final, breaking Scottish Record that stood for 30 years in the process!
Coach of the Year - Danny Kirkham (Swimming)
Danny Kirkham has been head coach at Musselburgh Amateur Swimming Club (MASC) since September 2018 and has worked superbly well, alongside the club committee, to continue the inclusive approach that has welcomed and developed a number of swimmers with a disability. During his short time as head coach with MASC, Kirkham has further strengthened relationships with existing swimmers with a disability at the club ensuring that training programmes are tailored, and the needs of the individuals are met effectively. The 23-year-old has also been key in welcoming new swimmers with a disability into the club, ensuring that swimmers and parents are aware of goals & objectives and how to successfully achieve them.
In addition to his busy schedule with MASC and also East Lothian Swim Team (ELST), Kirkham has also been keen to support the Scottish Disability Sport (SDS) Regional Squad & National squads working with the top para swimmers from the East of Scotland and across the nation. Danny supported Scottish teams at major Para Swim meets in Manchester (National Para Swimming Championships) and Glasgow (British Para-Swimming International Meet). Slotting into the role as assistant manager, Kirkham has relished the opportunity to learn more about para swimming.
Endeavour Award - Corey McDowall (swimming)
Corey has overcome many challenges this year – Having moved clubs earlier this year where he was attending one session a week, Corey now trains on average five sessions each week with the odd week training six sessions.
This has been both a physical and mental challenge for him however his resilience and love for swimming has been tremendous. Corey has worked hard to build awareness of uncomfortable/challenging environments and has learned how to cope/stay calm and process it in a more positive way.
Corey has CP and autism, he had low confidence on his ability to complete a land training session of body weight exercises and stretches. However, he has worked hard to understand and build knowledge on his weaknesses and strengths and his openness to working with coaches and the support of team members. His confidence has increased dramatically and has impressed on his ability to perform body weight exercises with impressive technique, he attends a local gym to further build himself physically and has overcome the mental/emotional apprehension of something he didn’t think was possible.
Team of the Year - Dalkeith Thistle Pan Disability Team (football)
Dalkeith Thistle CFC noticed a lack of opportunities for players with disabilities in the region, and quickly set about changing this. From initial start-up the club had 12 signed players and they now have 30 regular members with numbers increasing week on week.
The team were entered into PAN Disability Division 2 League Championship, playing in 7 league days starting in September 2018 and ending in April 2019. On 28th April the team lifted the league cup in their debut season (conceding16 goals and losing only 4 matches). This was quickly followed by winning the Section 2 (Champ D2/League 1) Scottish Cup. A fantastic inagural season.
Jim Anderson OBE Bursary - Sam Downie (swimming)
13 year old Sam, has a complex & rare condition called Caudal Regrsession Syndrome which presents itself through missing his lower spine, tethered spinal cord, limb deformity, muscle weakness and motor/sensory challenges. Despite his level of impairment, Sam continues to train around 12 hours per week in the pool in addition to land training at club and home, highlighting how motivated the youngster is to achieve his ultimate goal of becoming a Paralympic swimmer.
The Edinburgh based youngster continues to train with Lothian Racers as well as Musselburgh Amateur Swimming Club where he has developed an excellent working relationship with Head Coach Danny Kirkham. In addition to this, Sam was also invited to join East Lothian Swim Team (ELST) in August 2018, a huge achievement for any swimmer as this represents an introduction to the performance swim environment. However, Sam is not just happy being part of the squad and continues to excel – this was highlighted as he received the East Lothian Swim Team Future Star Award for Break Through Junior Swimmer earlier this year. This recognition is no mean feat considering the quality of swimmer involved in the ELST Programme.
Sam is also a member of the Scottish national squad and this year has continued to achieve some excellent results in the pool with positive performances recorded at the British Para-Swimming Championships in Manchester (December 2018), the British Junior Para-Swimming Championship in Liverpool (March 2019) and the British Para-Swimming International Meet in Glasgow (April 2019). Each of these performances yielded several medals and personal best times.