The 16-year-old, who in October made history by becoming the first female boxer to win gold for Scotland at a major international competition, added to her honours list by being named the Dunfermline Press Sports Personality of the Year at the Dunfermline and West Fife Sports Council Sports Awards.
Last Wednesday evening, the prizegiving for 2022 was held at Queen Anne High School, and recognised high-class achievements from individuals and teams, as well as the sterling efforts of coaches and volunteers, from the previous 12 months.
Awards in eight categories were presented, including that of Sports Personality of the Year, which is given to an “outstanding ports person resident and training in Dunfermline and West Fife, who is a current member of a local club and has achieved consistently high performance in 2022”.
Dunfermline High School pupil Niamh, who trains with Bowhill Miners Boxing Club, was shortlisted alongside Dunfermline Track and Field Club stars Darcie Black and Shayna Asamoah, and judoka Kirsty Marsh, who represented Scotland at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
The 16-year-old’s achievement in winning EUBC (European Boxing Confederation) European Junior Championship gold, in October, saw her chosen as the award’s recipient, adding to the Young Athlete of the Year accolade she received at the Scottish Sports Awards 2022.
Niamh, who lives in Rosyth, become only the second Scot to win gold at the European Junior Championships when she took home the 52kg light bantamweight title, and is only the seventh male or female Scottish boxer ever to become a European champion at any level.
When asked if she imagined achieving such success 12 months ago, she replied: “Not at all.
“I dreamed of it. To be fair, I didn’t even dream of winning any of this, but I would’ve liked it to have happened. I would never have thought it.
“It’s a good thing to achieve again, and another one to add to my list!
“It’s just like everything else; you look at it and wonder how I’ve actually got myself this far. It’s good to get that recognition, but I just need to get back in the gym and get back to it.”
The Young Sports Personality of the Year, which is presented to an individual under the age of 16, was won by motorbike racing star, Lennon Docherty.
The 15-year-old, who is from Lochore and attends St Columba’s High School, was shortlisted alongside taekwondo star, Lily Finch; Dunfermline Track and Field Club athlete, Sophie Thomas; and judo pair Jocelyn Callaghan and James Rutherford.
Lennon was chosen for his success in winning the he 2022 Bemsee (British Motorcycle Racing Club) Kawasaki Team Green Cup, and is set to compete in the HEL Performance British Junior Supersport Championship this year, a series that is a support class of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship.
His dad, William, commented: “Lennon would like to thank the Carnegie Dunfermline Trust (the award sponsors) for his recognition and his award, to everyone who follows his social media pages, and his current sponsors.
“He is really looking forward to this season, and is excited to see what Junior Supersport has in store for him.”
The Club Coach of the Year accolade, sponsored by the sports council, was jointly awarded to James White and Stuart Brown.
Stuart, who stepped down as head coach of the men’s first XV after three seasons in the summer, was recognised for his work with Dunfermline Rugby Club, which last year saw him named as Volunteer of the Season for the Caledonia Midlands region by Scottish Rugby for his efforts in organising training sessions for up to 80 players a week.
James, alongside Thomas Wilson, coaches Niamh at Bowhill Miners Boxing Club, and he said: “It’s a club thing and, without Niamh performing at the level she’s performing at, it wouldn’t be happening.
“It’s all down to her, her dedication, her ability, and getting the opportunities through Boxing Scotland to box internationally. There’s a part to play, but it was done for me, so you just try and pass on what’s went before you.
“I’m not one that’s looking for any praise. It’s a hard game; it’s one of the hardest games in the world.
“There’s only seven Scottish boxers in the history of Scottish boxing that’s ever won European gold, so it’s a phenomenal achievement.
“She’s the first-ever female and she’s showing the way for women in sport.”
Although they missed out on the Sports Personality of the Year prize, Darcie and Shayna, alongside Kirstin Penman and Ellie Candlish, celebrated picking up the Active Schools Fife Junior Team of the Year award, ahead of Dunfermline Rugby Club’s under-15 and under-16 teams.
They formed the Dunfermline Track and Field under-17 girls team that took gold in the Scottish Athletics Indoor League (SAIL), and Darcie said: “I actually didn’t know who would be on the shortlist, because we didn’t know anything about it, but we’re really happy!
“In a team, and individually, we had a good year. Everybody did really well.”
The Benny Hutton Team Award was between Dunfermline Carnegie Hockey Club’s men’s team and their counterparts at Dunfermline Reign Basketball Club, with the latter’s achievements in reaching the Scottish Cup final for the first time seeing them pick up the prize.
“It was quite a surprise; I didn’t realise we were up for it this year,” captain Kieran Lynch said.
“I was just here in a work capacity with Active Schools, I saw the name and thought, oh, no-one’s here from the club, I better represent them! I am the senior men’s club captain so it was a nice little surprise, and then going on to win it was pretty cool.”
The East Kilbride Sports Council Award, which is presented to athletes with a disability, was jointly won by Finlay Davidson and Niamh Currie.
Both members of Disability Sport Fife, Finlay, a T/F41 athlete with achondroplasia, represented Scotland at the National UK School Games in Loughborough, medalling in the shot putt, discus and universal relay events, whilst wheelchair racer Niamh, a T54 competitor, set new personal bests over 100, 200 and 400 metre distances, and fulfilled a long-term goal of competing in the London Mini Marathon, where she finished as the fastest under-13 girl.
Of eight nominees for the Active Schools Fife School Ambassador of the Year Award, Woodmill High School’s Freya Sneddon was picked as the winner.
She helps to support other young leaders and ambassadors in their work to encourage others to get involved in sport, whilst she also coaches basketball, helps with the school’s DAS (enhanced support) department, assists with running transition events and other sports camps.
She said: “I’m really chuffed. I’m quite surprised because all the young ambassadors do so much amazing work.
“I really enjoy leading. It’s really encouraging and, also, just seeing everyone progress is really nice.”
The Fife Sports and Leisure Trust Services to Sport Award had three recipients; badminton coach, Julie Hogg; hockey and cricket coach, Douglas Hill; and Andi Campbell, who runs the Fife Soccer 7s at Pitreavie.
Julie, who in 2022 was named as Badminton Scotland’s inaugural Performance Coach of the Year, said: “I’m really chuffed.
“To receive a nomination, as I’ve said before, is incredible, but then to jointly win it is really, really nice, because everyone, in their own sport, does so much.”
Douglas commented: “It’s really nice. I’m quite surprised to be honest.
“I suppose hockey’s not in the same category as football in terms of recognition, but it’s nice to get the sort of more minority sports recognised as well.”
Andi added: “It’s a great feeling.
“It’s not very often I’ve ever won anything, but I never got involved in this for accolades or anything like that.
“I love it; 21 years later, I still love it! It’s great to be rewarded, absolutely, but it’s like everything else – it’s not just a one-man show. It’s everyone that’s involved in the Soccer 7s.”
Fife Provost, Jim Leishman, attended the event and provided the vote of thanks, which he used to describe the awards as a “wonderful occasion”, and praise the winners and nominees, adding: “Look at what we’re producing in this West Fife area.
“We’ve got European champions, we’ve got Scottish champions. It’s tremendous.”