Monday, October 05, 2015

Swimming’s Robbie Renwick Scoops Top Award

"It’s absolutely amazing to win, just seeing the people who have won this award in the past few years, it’s stunning to be up there with the best in Scotland." Robbie Renwick

Following an outstanding season, which saw him become World Champion for the first time in his career, swimmer, Robbie Renwick was named Scottish Sportsperson of the Year 2015 and awarded the Emirates Lonsdale Trophy, at the Commonwealth Games Scotland Awards Dinner in Glasgow last night (3 October). Fellow swimmer, 18-year-old Duncan Scott, then collected the Sir Peter Heatly Trophy for the Young Sportsperson of the Year, to make it a clean sweep of the main awards for swimming.

The dinner, organised by Commonwealth Games Scotland, is one of the highlights of the Scottish sporting calendar and recognises the achievements of Scotland’s athletes in Commonwealth Games Federation member sports over the past 12 months. This year was a celebration of the achievements of Youth Team Scotland, recently returned from the Commonwealth Youth Games in Samoa and of the senior Scottish athletes vying for selection for next year’s Olympic and Paralympic Games in Rio.

Renwick scooped the top award for playing a key part of Great Britain’s 4x200m Freestyle Relay team at the 2015 Swimming World Championships in Kazan. At age 27, his split of 1:45.98 to win gold in Kazan was the fastest of his long career.

Robbie’s achievements are the result of talent, hard work and perseverance. His career for Scotland started with the Commonwealth Youth Games in 2004.  Medal success followed in the next three Commonwealth Games in 2006, 2010 and 2014 where he anchored Team Scotland to three successive team silvers in the 4x200m Freestyle Relay and won individual gold in the 200m Freestyle in 2010. Training in Scotland throughout his career, initially in Aberdeen and then in Glasgow, Robbie is now based with the successful University of Stirling squad, leading by example to the next generation of Scottish swimmers.

He received two Business Class flights to Dubai, courtesy of Lonsdale Trophy sponsor Emirates and becomes the third swimmer to win the title following in the footsteps of Gregor Tait (2006) and Hannah Miley (2010).

A delighted Robbie Renwick said: "It’s absolutely amazing to win, just seeing the people who have won this award in the past few years, it’s stunning to be up there with the best in Scotland. It really means a lot to me.

“This year has been the highlight of my swimming career. From being at the point after the Commonwealth Games last year, not sure if I wanted to keep swimming to turning that around and being World Champion a year later is hugely exciting. Changing my training base from Glasgow to Stirling has had a huge benefit and everything has all come together really nicely. I’ve got another year to Rio 2016 and it is exciting knowing that we could be even faster next year and it’s now about turning that World Championship gold into an Olympic gold medal."

Robbie saw off stiff competition from the three other incredible finalists; Rower, Heather Stanning and Para-sport athletes Neil Fachie (Cycling) and Gordon Reid (Wheelchair Tennis).

Rower, Captain Heather Stanning MBE, with English partner Helen Glover, are undefeated in the women’s Coxless Pairs in four years. They are reigning Olympic, World, World Cup and European Champions and have won the World Cup series for the last five years.

Shortlisted as a finalist for the second year in a row, Para-sport cyclist Neil Fachie MBE has continued to dominate on the track, becoming double World Champion at the UCI Para-cycling World Championships in the men’s B 1km Time Trial and Sprint events this year. This makes Neil the reigning World, Paralympic and Commonwealth champion and the current world record holder.

Wheelchair tennis athlete, Gordon Reid, won two Grand Slam Doubles titles in 2015 – the French Open and US Open and reached the Australian Open Doubles final. Ranked ITF world number 2 in doubles and 5 in singles, this year he also won his third successive World Wheelchair Tennis Tournament doubles title and was part of the GB team that won gold at the 2015 BNP Paribas World Team Cup. 

Announcing the award, Commonwealth Games Scotland Chairman Paul Bush OBE said: “The last 12 months have been a hugely successful period for our sportsmen and women, many of whom are already well on the road to Rio, preparing for next year’s Olympic and Paralympic Games.

“As always, singling out just one athlete from amongst all the Scots who have excelled on the world stage is an incredibly difficult task, however I firmly believe that Robbie Renwick is a worthy winner.

“Robbie Renwick has been a fantastic ambassador for both his sport and Commonwealth Games Scotland for more than a decade and to see him to finally become a World Champion, posting his best ever split time, is a fair reflection of his talent and just reward for his continued endeavour. I would like to wish him and our other three finalists all the very best for 2016.

“Many thanks to Emirates, who are supporting the Lonsdale Trophy again this year and whose support enables us to properly recognise the athlete’s achievements.”

Also presented last night was the Sir Peter Heatly Trophy for the outstanding Young Sportsperson of the year. Established by the Heatly family in 2013, this year’s nominees were: Grant Ferguson, Cycling; Samantha Kinghorn, Para-athletics; Laura Muir, Athletics and Duncan Scott, Swimming.

This was another tough decision for the judging panel, but it was swimmer Duncan Scott that was announced as the winner.

18-year-old Duncan won an incredible six medals, including three gold, at the inaugural European Games in Baku, to become the most successful British athlete at the Games, which for aquatics, were doubling as the European Junior Championships.

Unable to attend as he was collecting a further award last night at the British Swimming dinner in Manchester, Duncan sent a message saying: “It’s a huge honour to be awarded the Sir Peter Heatly Trophy. There was huge competition and some absolutely great athletes nominated so to win is fantastic.

“This year has been a great ride, starting at the European Games in Baku with six medals. I then took that confidence into the World Champs, my first senior cap for Great Britain, and it was an unreal experience. It was great to be part of the winning relay team. With my swim in the heats and the guys swimming so incredibly well to beat the Americans in the final it was great to come away with that gold medal. I think I can take that forward into my future career. With medals at Worlds and at the Commonwealth Games last year I hope it continues like that. Making Rio 2016 will be the biggest challenge yet but I think it’s definitely on the cards.”

Later in the summer, at the World Swimming Championships, Duncan won a gold medal for his swim in the heats as a member of the British 4x200m Freestyle Relay team along with fellow Scots, Dan Wallace and Robbie Renwick, putting Great Britain into the final. He was a member of the Team Scotland Scottish silver medal winning 4x200m Freestyle Relay team at Glasgow 2014.

The final award of the evening was made to the Commonwealth Youth Games ‘Athlete of the Games’. This was won by Lenzie 15-year-old Ewen Lumsden who had a fantastic Games, reaching all three Tennis finals, despite facing opposition up to three years his senior. He won silver in the Mixed Doubles with partner Louie McLelland, then went one better in the boys’ Doubles, winning the tournament with his Cypriot partner, before claiming silver in the boy’s Singles.  It was a phenomenal performance from the Beaconhurst School pupil and he is definitely one to watch for the future.

Nearly 300 people from Scottish sport and business joined in the celebrations at Glasgow’s Radisson BLU Hotel, where the evening was hosted by BBC Sport presenter, Hazel Irvine. 

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