Disability Coach of the Year 2023

A dedicated and inspirational Glasgow based badminton coach was honoured at the 2023 sportscotland COV Awards. 

David Gillespie was presented with the Disability Coach of the Year for the incredible amount of time dedicated to disability badminton, recognising his unmatched commitment and passion to providing sporting opportunities to people with disabilities.  

The sportscotland Coaching, Officiating and Volunteering Awards celebrate all those who break down barriers, inspire and enhance the lives of others through sport, and recognise the commitment of those who apply their own time and effort to make sport accessible to all. 

David has been a volunteer coach and committee member of Glasgow Disability Badminton Club (GDBC) for 13 years where he leads on the regular weekly badminton sessions which cater for adults 14+ with a disability. David dedicates a substantial amount of time to disability badminton and goes above & beyond to ensure badminton is an inclusive sport for anyone to play and enjoy. 

This year through his coaching role he has supported various initiatives including delivery at the Scottish Disability Sport (SDS) West Para Sport Festival, introducing school pupils with a disability to the sport of badminton.  He also supported City of Glasgow College students in the preparation and delivery of a student disability badminton festival along with a presentation on disability badminton.  David also delivered Holiday Camps throughout the year for Glasgow Sport & SDS where children in the city with learning disabilities were able to take part in badminton taster sessions.

David has driven the inclusion of a Learning Disability section within the Glasgow & North Strathclyde (G&NS) Badminton Group to create a disability section within their Adult Social League, engaging participants from local badminton clubs.  David encourages and supports his players to reach their potential and challenge themselves by entering these competitions.   

David Gillespie said, “One of my favourite bits about my role as a coach is training them up to be ready to go out and play in some tournaments. Sometimes that is the first time they’ll ever have played in a tournament and the feedback you get from them is amazing because they’re meeting new people, which has an incredible impact on their social skills.” 

“Providing people with the opportunity to play sport, really does allow for people from all backgrounds to come out of their shell and find confidence and its does make a big difference to them, both physically and mentally. I come away smiling from every training session and competitive tournament. It is truly amazing.”

“We are not just a simple sports club. We do use sport as a medium, but we inspire young people and families through leadership and through volunteering; but we use sport as our engagement, and we know the tremendous impact that is has on so many lives.”

Mel Young, Chair of sportscotland, said: “Every year the Coaching, Officiating and Volunteering Awards provide us with the opportunity to celebrate people across the country who have given so much of their time and dedication to Scottish sport and are making such an impact on their sport and community.  

“Over the course of the last year, we have seen thousands of sporting enthusiasts who give up hours and hours of their own daily lives, to make a difference in sport and physical activity and who have an understanding what an impact that can have on people’s lives. The people we are celebrating have taken that recognition and turned it into life-changing ambition and force for good.”

“Funding for so many of these local clubs and communities that we have celebrated tonight, would not be possible without the National Lottery, and we thank them for their continued support. Throughout the years, the contribution from the National lottery players has truly changed lives and supported people and communities to improve and grow.’’

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