CITY of Derry swimmer, Ryan Harrison claimed the major honour at Wednesday night’s District Sports Awards ceremony in the Guildhall, the Eglinton man receiving the Senior Male Sports Personality accolade.
The talented swimmer is currently studying at University of Tennessee and his father, David, collected the honour on his behalf and he believes 2011 promises to be an equally exciting year for his son.
Harrison represented N. Ireland at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi and was a member of the 4x100m Freestyle Relay team which set a new Ulster record at the event.
A member of the Irish 2012 squad for the London Olympics, Harrison will be anxious to maintain his high level of performances he achieved as part of the Varsity’s NCAA squad during the past 12 months.
Inducted into the Sports Council Hall of Fame on the night was Olympian, Terry Watt who has been involved in the Judo circuit for 49 years. A current member of the International Judo Federation Masters Commission, Watt has claimed 38 Irish senior titles and 11 British titles in a decorated career in the sport, however, he will forever be associated with the 1972 Munich Olympics where he represented Ireland.
The Sports Team of the Year award was fittingly shared between both Ardmore Gaelic Football Club and the City of Derry Spartans Men’s squad.
The Ardmore team enjoyed a magnificent year when they were crowned Derry Junior champions against the odds while the highlight of a successful year for the Spartans men’s squad was representing Ireland in Portugal at the European Clubs’ Half Marathon Championship in October.
Guest speaker on the night, Derry City manager, Stephen Kenny, paid tribute to the achievements of the local sports stars in attendance in a passionate speech claimed he was inspired by the character and level of commitment shown by athletes in their respective disciplines.
Special night for
“It’s a special night as all sports in Derry get equal recognition,” said the Dubliner. “Football dominates the sports pages at times, but every sport is equal.
“I am inspired by the swimmers who get up at 5 a.m. before school or work, the boxers whose training regimes are really strict and disciplined. People involved in martial arts, the huge levels of concentration and the focus. And athletics, the mental strength involved in long distance running is unbelievable. I’m inspired by all of those things,” added Kenny.
Other notable winners on the night were Shawn Barron (Karate) for his ‘Services to Sport’ and Cricket coach, John Semple won the Sports Coach award.
The Sports Council also presented Derry City Football Club striker, Mark Farren and triathlete, Aileen Morrison, with Sports Personality awards for their acheivements during 2010.