The Dundee sporting community are getting set for a night that will ‘stick with them’ as the Caird Hall prepares to host the 19th-annual Dundee Sports Awards this evening.
The city’s finest will descend on the Leisure and Culture Dundee Sports Awards as 41 athletes, clubs, coaches and volunteers battle it out across 12 categories to take home the prizes.
Among the awards a packed hall of 200 guests will see given out is the Tele’s Club of the Year gong.
The awards, which have been running in the City of Discovery since the year 2000, recognise the achievements of Dundee’s brightest sporting stars, of all ages and abilities.
Sport development officer at Leisure and Culture Dundee, Alex Knight, is part of the team which organises the evening and believes it is becoming an event of growing importance on the city’s sporting calendar.
“I think it is really important. It really raises the profile of what is happening locally,” she said.
“You can tell from the nominations there are a lot of athletes and teams performing at a very high level.
“It’s great to be able to recognise what they’re doing and reward them for their efforts throughout the year.”
L&C Events and ICT manager Gary Smith echoed her sentiments, saying: “I think with the coaches and volunteers as well, it shows them they are being recognised for it and they’re acknowledged.
“A lot of these people go along week in, week out and the people that are there might not necessarily say to them ‘thanks very much, I really appreciate what you’re doing for me’.
“However, by getting voted, nominated and everything which accompanies the awards, that’s when they realise they are appreciated and they are doing a good job that is valued.
“It’s being spread around loads of different sports, there are so many sports that are catered for in Dundee.
“It’s not just your traditional football and hockey, there is a far wider field and I think it’s getting a lot better known for that now.”
Knight agrees the scope of sports offered in Dundee is expanding and believes the list of nominees, which includes the likes of fencing and boating, proves that.
“We’ve had nominations from over 20 different sports this year, which is fantastic because we’ve been through phases in the past where hockey and gymnastics, for example, were very heavily recognised,” she added.
“That’s brilliant because these sports are performing at a high level. I think, with the help of the Evening Telegraph and others, it’s helped to get the word out there.
“We’ve got a fencing club, which is quite niche, and came to us through Dundee University.
“It’s good to get these sorts of sports recognised as well.”
This evening’s ceremony will be hosted by Tay FM’s Stuart Webster and will see dance and gymnastics performances from Spartans Gymnastics and Urban Moves Dance Company.
The organisers insist it will be quite a spectacle.
Smith said: “You can feel the buzz around the place, the excitement and tension building.
“I don’t think a lot of the younger ones know what to expect when they turn up and walk into the Caird Hall and it’s all lit up.
“It makes for a great experience for the young ones coming through and, hopefully, it encourages them to stick with it as they grow older.”