Junior World Triathlon Champion, Glasgow’s Kirsty McWilliam, and Cleveland Triathlon Club’s Kay Stokes, have been heralded by an all star panel as they were shortlisted in The Sunday Times Sportswomen of the Year Awards. The Awards will be held at Lords Cricket Ground on Thursday February 12.
The judging team, which included Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson and BBC Sport’s Jill Douglas, named the young Scot alongside Wimbledon junior champion Laura Robson, downhill mountain biker Rachel Atherton, cricketer Holly Colvin and weightlifter Zoe Smith in the Young Sportswoman of the Year category.
McWilliam enjoyed an outstanding 2008 which saw her crowned as the ITU Junior Triathlon World Champion in Vancouver, Canada, and European Junior Championship silver medallist in Lisbon, Portugal. The Stirling University student also won the British Sprint Triathlon Championships in Reading, holding off top senior Andrea Whitcombe, and made her debut at the Olympic distance, finishing sixth at the prestigious Mazda London Triathlon.
"It is fantastic to have been recognised by such a high profile panel and nominated alongside four other extremely talented athletes for the Young Sportswomen Award. It means a lot to me when other people recognise my achievements and I really appreciate my nomination. It is also a great sign that triathlon is really starting to make a mark in the public domain despite still being a relatively small sport," said McWilliam.
Alongside McWilliam, Kay Stokes from Cleveland Triathlon Club was shortlisted for the Community Club Volunteer Award, having been nominated by North East Regional Development Manager, Georgie Rutherford.
Kay has been instrumental in the development of the sport of triathlon in the region, and has been an active volunteer and coach after originally joining Cleveland Triathlon Club as an athlete.
At present Kay runs the club’s junior academy and coaches the children through from eight to sixteen years old. Alongside this she organises annual training camps, social outings and specific workshops.
Aside from the youngsters, Kay also takes an adult coaching group, and encouraged British Triathlon Disabled squad member, Charlotte Ellis, to take up the sport. She helped to found a women and girls Try-a-Tri campaign in 2008 alongside the Women’s Sport and Fitness Foundation and has recently agreed to run Easter and summer training sessions for the Tees Valley and Middlesbrough Council sports development scheme, Gifted and Talented.
What makes Kay stand out is the fact she carries out all these voluntary hours for both her club and the region on top of being a mum to three young boys, working part time to support her family and also enjoying competing in athletics and triathlon herself.
On hearing the news Kay Stokes said: "I have a lot of support and encouragement from everyone at Cleveland Triathlon club so it really is a team effort. Without the hard work and dedication by a lot of others my job as a voluntary coach would not be as fun or enjoyable."