Gaining recognition for your endeavours will always bring a welcome boost, and for Paralympian Caroline Maclean that was certainly the case.
The Haverhill-based wheelchair basketball star enjoyed great sporting success throughout her career including representing Great Britain at no less than four Paralympic Games.
Back in 2011, Maclean received her second successive St Edmundsbury Sports Personality of the Year award, with the following year heralding the period of perhaps her greatest sporting highlight.
“I was lucky enough to win the St Edmundsbury Sports Personality of the Year award twice in a row in 2010 and 2011,” said Maclean, who was also handed the honour of being a torch bearer ahead of her final Paralympic Games appearance.
“After that I achieved my next goal which was to be selected for London 2012 to make it my fourth Paralympic Games.
“I didn’t manage to achieve my dream which would have been to win a Paralympic Medal in my home country but to lose against the gold medal winners, Germany, in the final few minutes of the quarter final is nothing to be ashamed of. I still managed to end my basketball career on a high.”
Retirement was set to follow, and while it did for a two-year period, the lure of making a return to action proved just too much Maclean, as it still does to this day.
“After retiring at the end of 2012 I took a well earned rest,” she added. “But then last year I finally decided it wasn’t time to completely retire.
“I signed for a team that I have wanted to play for for a few years and that is the Shropshire Warriors, who are based in Telford. We had a slow start but ended up third out of eight teams in the First Division.
“I was definitely going to stop playing at the end of this season, but my Telford teammates wanted to talk me into signing for another year and I’m very pleased to say they have.
“So wheelchair basketball hasn’t quite ended for me yet.”
n The St Edmundsbury Sports Awards, sponsored by Abbeycroft Leisure, the Free Press and sister paper Haverhill Echo returns this summer for its ninth year with the aim of once again highlighting and recognising the outstanding achievements made by men, women and juniors as well as showcasing the sporting efforts made in the Borough of St Edmundsbury.
Awards on the night will once again include: Sports Personality, Young Sports Personality, Community Volunteer, Individual Performance/Achievement, Unsung Hero, Lifetime Achievement, Coach of the Year, Club of the Year, Triumph over Adversity and Most Active Workplace, which was newly added last year.
n Previous Sports Personality of the Year award winners include Tania Spurling (Athletics, 2007), Stephanie Biller (Swimming, 2008), Barbara Leverett (Triathlon, 2009), Tom Cole (Swimming, 2012), Alan Macpherson (Ultraman, 2013) and Esther Colman (Triathlon, 2014).
n You can put forward your nominations for this year’s Sports Personality of the Year, as well as the other nine categories, by visiting www.acleisure.com/sportsawards