Published: 08th Dec 2023 Images: Scottish Cycling

Magnificent night for cycling at Scottish Sports Awards

It was a night to remember for cycling at the 2023 Scottish Sports Awards, as Katie Archibald MBE was crowned Female Athlete of the Year and Scottish Cycling scooped the Governing Body of the Year award.

With the inaugural UCI Cycling World Championships taking place in Scotland, 2023 was always going to be a memorable year, which now has a cherry on top with recognition from sportscotland and Team Scotland at Scotland’s premier sports awards.

Clinching the Scottish Governing Body Award adds further validation to the many successes this summer, from 21 World Championship medals and 11 world titles, to our role as Official Activation and Legacy Partner of the World Championships. In that role, some 120 grassroots events have been delivered via the creation of Ride The Worlds, engaging just shy of 5,000 people, and helping to deliver against the events key policy outcomes.

There has also been the launch of new website, which clearly signposts people to their nearest cycling opportunity, the successful continuation of Rock Up & Ride, our free bikes for kids programme funded by Transport Scotland, and the delivery of the early stages of our Women & Girls Action Plan, tackling gender imbalance in cycling.

Up against Scottish Athletics and Scottish Disability Sport, who have both enjoyed great years, it is an accolade that means a lot, as Chief Executive, Nick Rennie, explained:

“This award underlines just what a success 2023 has been for Scottish Cycling. A handful of us were up on stage collecting the award this evening, but so many people share a part in this success, from our incredibly hard-working staff team, our board of directors, the partners without whom none of this would be possible, and to perhaps the most important people, our Scottish Cycling community.

“Without the hundreds and thousands of coaches, officials, event organisers, club volunteers, parents, and of course, riders, none of what we do would be possible. So, a big thank you to them, and thank you for this award, which will be proudly displayed in the velodrome.”

For Archibald, being recognised as Female Athlete of the Year is testament, and just reward, to the character she has shown over the last 12 months, returning to the top of the sport whilst still dealing with the grief that has come with the passing of her partner, Rab Wardell.

Rab, Katie’s biggest fan and supporter, would be incredibly proud of what she has achieved this year, and happy that she is back on her bike, doing what she does best. At a home World Championships, made even more poignant, she helped the British squad to gold in the Women’s Team Pursuit, whilst earlier in the year she won no fewer than three European track titles, taking her career tally to 20.

Most recently, she reclaimed her UCI Track Champions League crown, an incredible year by anyone’s standards, not to mention the backdrop of her achievements.

Katie wasn’t able to be in Glasgow, instead in Spain on a training camp, but her mother Louise was able to collect her award. In a video message from Spain, Katie said:

“First off, an apology I’m not with you in person – I’m currently in Spain on a training camp, listening to Christmas songs whilst I apply suncream! None-the-less I’m delighted to have this opportunity to thank you for naming me your Female Athlete of the Year.

“I have to confess my surprise, as simply being nominated alongside Beth [Potter] and Seonaid [McIntosh] is an honour enough in itself. Beth and I, you might not know, were on the same swim team as children so I’ve witnessed her work ethic first hand, and I can imagine how rewarding it feels to have all that hard work translate into the success she’s had this last few years. Long may that success continue, for Beth, Seonaid and all the other shining lights of Scottish sport we’re celebrating tonight.”

They may not have been winners on the night, but there was also recognition for Fin Graham and Neil Fachie OBE. Graham was shortlisted for Moment of the Year thanks to that gruelling uphill sprint to the line in the rain in Dumfries and Galloway, which saw him defend his world title in the C3 Road Race. Fachie was pipped to the post in the Para Athlete of the Year category, but can again take pride in another pair of World titles this summer on the track, taking his career total to a whopping 19.