Scottish Student Sport Awards Success

The talent, success and dedication of Edinburgh students and staff has been celebrated at the annual Scottish Student Sport Awards.

Derek Docherty - Honorary Presidents Medal

The Honorary Presidents medal is presented to an individual who has made an extraordinary contribution to and lasting impact on student sport.

Derek Docherty with award

Derek has worked with the Swimming & Water Polo club since 2005, officially announcing his retirement at the beginning of this season. However, despite retiring from his role, Derek has continued to support the club and athletes in many ways. Derek often returns to officiate, sometimes staying for 5 hours and refereeing three fixtures in a row.

Derek’s commitment to Edinburgh University Swimming and Water Polo Club spans over 17 years, coaching the Women’s Water Polo teams at Edinburgh for the duration whilst also spending some of that time coaching the Men's 1's and Men's 2's, he has been a stalwart supporter of the sport and the club, working with hundreds of athletes throughout his tenure with the club.

Many players that join the club only start playing water polo at university, and Derek was a key figure in enabling their learning and development within the sport. He is a brilliant and extremely supportive coach and has seen numerous beginners move up through the 2nd and into the 1st team, a testament to his quality of coaching. For example, two current W1 players (playing with the team finishing third in the league) only started playing at university under Derek.

The impact Derek has had this season, and in his previous years with the club and its players is hard to quantify. Aside from the support and genuine care for his players, Derek has had an incredible impact on the sport in Scotland. Athletes that worked with Derek at university continue to stay involved in the sport, with many continuing to play water polo, and numerous others volunteering in the sport through refereeing, tabling, and coaching. Water polo and the club has been incredibly fortunate to benefit from Derek’s engagement and encouragement, even after almost twenty years with the club (and retiring) Derek is still an incredibly visible figure within the club.

This year, the club hosted their 135th Alumni event where students and alumni shared stories of the impact Derek has had on so many people over the years. The club’s current captain (born in 2002) and one of the first captains (started university in 2004) both spoke about Derek’s impact. It is truly remarkable that a coach can have such a positive impact over such an extended period.

Grace Reid - awarded Female Athlete of the Year

Awarded to a female individual for outstanding sporting achievement at the highest level during the 2022-23 season (April 2022 – April 2023) while making a tangible contribution to the institution.

Image of Grace Reid in Performance Gym

Grace Reid is one of Scotland’s, and Great Britain’s, most decorated divers. A specialist in the 1m and 3m springboard disciplines she is a double Olympian and double Commonwealth Games and European Champion.

Grace excels in balancing a dual career as a student athlete, achieving exceptional grades as a Sports Science student at the University of Edinburgh as well as competing on the world stage. Grace is an inspiration to junior athletes, spending as much time as she can sharing her knowledge and expertise.

Grace has been recognised by Edinburgh University Sports Union, currently holding the Eva Bailey Cup for Female Athlete of the Year, having also received the award in 2014/15. Grace has further been recognised by the University of Edinburgh by recently being inducted into the Sports Hall of Fame.

Charlie Aldridge – awarded Male Athlete of the Year

Awarded to a male individual for outstanding sporting achievement at the highest level during the 2022-23 season (April 2022- April 2023) while making a tangible contribution to the institution.

Birmingham Commonwealth Games - Charlie Aldridge (cycling)

Charlie is a world class mountain biker and a third year Mechanical Engineering student, juggling a very demanding degree alongside a sport that requires a lot of travel and commitment, which is simply incredible. Charlie signed a professional contract with leading team Cannondale this year and has been at a training camp with Great Britain in South Africa for testing ahead of the Paris Olympics.

Currently, Charlie holds the title of 2022 European U23 Cross Country Champion and 2022 British National Champion following his success in 2019 where he became Junior World Champion

Charlie is also a huge advocate for student sport, taking part in every BUCS and SSS event he can, even those out-with his main discipline. Charlie also takes part in intramural activity with the Engineers Rugby Team.

Celebrating Success

We are delighted that the talent, success and dedication of the Edinburgh community has been recognised. Congratulations to Derek, Grace and Charlie on their awards but also to Hannah Adams, Claire Cruikshank and the Edinburgh Women's Fencing 1's who were shortlisted in the Volunteer of the Year, Coach of the Year and Team of the Year categories respectively.

Ross SimpsonAssistant Director and Head of Sport , University of Edinburgh

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