PICTURE GALLERY2012 WAS the year of the watersports, if the honours’ list for the IW Sports Achievement Awards last week was anything to go by.
Of the 18 awards presented at the Riverside Centre, Newport, half were connected to swimming or rowing — although shooting, athletics, cricket, archery, bowls and football had their share of the limelight as well.
It was a stellar night for Ryde Rowing Club, who won both junior and senior team awards for their performances in the Hants and Dorset Amateur Rowing Association Championship, and the South Coast Rowing Championship, which gave the club its best performance in its 137-year history.
The club’s former captain John Adams, known to everyone as Henry, won the club official award while Mike Jenner — one of the club’s best-performing rowers and current coach to both junior and senior squads — won the performance coach award.
But it seemed Mike didn’t want to rest on his laurels. "It’s whether we can progress now," he said. "That will be the tough part, as well as trying to compete too."
There was a huge cheer when swimmer Zac Lacey collected his prize, the junior disability award, for his medal-winning season in competitions for athletes with Down’s Syndrome.
Zac, of Ryde, said: "I love swimming really fast, and my favourite pools are West Wight and Seaclose. I can’t wait to show my trophies to my friends."
Super runner Peter Young took the veterans’ award and seemed shocked to receive it.
"I am thrilled to bits," said Peter, 65, of Ryde. "I didn’t expect it at all. I’ve got to keep it going now!"
There was a surprise outstanding achievement award for Bonchurch discus thrower Nick Percy, to recognise his incredible year of achievement on the international athletics stage, while there was a sweet moment when Eileen Tipple, nominated in the disability senior category for her improvement in pony driving, was given a bag of polo mints to share with her pony, Pocus.
The big award of the night, the service to sport award, could have gone to any one of the three nominees but in the end, it was Tony Elgar who took home the trophy.
Tony, 64, of Shanklin, was the only nominee of the evening to have been nominated by two organisations; Shanklin Rifle and Pistol Club, and the Island Scouts Shooting Club.
He said: "I’m over the moon. It’s so nice to be appreciated."
Tony, who has been shooting since he was a teenager, said the sport was a way of life for him. He got into the scouting element when his son joined a cub pack, and he inevitably got called in to help.
The Island’s high sheriff, Nick Hayward, gave a speech, praising the efforts put in by all the athletes and by their coaches. "It’s great, and heartening, to see the achievements we’ve seen this evening," he added.
• Full list of awards in the Friday, March 8, County Press.
• Pictures from our online gallery www.iwcpgallery.co.uk below.