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WATCH: Elgin Amateur Boxing Club head coach and Chivas Brothers distillery electrician Paul 'Ratch' Gordon wins BBC Sports Personality of the Year 'Unsung Hero' award for Scotland for his voluntary work during Covid-19 pandemic and long service to club


By Craig Christie

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MORAY has a winner in this year's BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards.

Paul Gordon has been head coach at the Elgin club since 2007..Picture: Daniel Forsyth..
Paul Gordon has been head coach at the Elgin club since 2007..Picture: Daniel Forsyth..

Elgin Amateur Boxing Club head coach Paul 'Ratch' Gordon has won the Unsung hero award for Scotland, recognising over 13 years service to his club and the work he did with members during the Covid-19 pandemic.

He’ll now go forward to the glittering BBC Sports Personality of the Year Awards and join Unsung Hero award winners from Wales and Northern Ireland and from 12 English regions for a shot at securing the overall UK title.

The winner, who will be chosen by a panel of current and former sports stars and people active in sports volunteering, will be announced live at the 68th BBC Sports Personality of the Year Awards at Media City Salford on 19 December on BBC One.

The BBC Sports team visited Moray to film Gordon at the club and his work place - see video here.

Rothes-based Gordon (51) served in the RAF for 26 years before leaving the service to set up home in Moray, where he works as an electrician for Chivas Brothers at their Braeval and Allt a Bhainne whisky distilleries.

An RAF champion boxer in his youth, he was invited to help out at the Elgin boxing club in 2007 and was immediately installed as head coach.

He was humbled by the praise he was given by club members in a video they put together to nominate him for the Unsung Hero award.

"I’m delighted the club members think so highly of me, but this really is a team effort," he said. "We have a great mentality at the club where everyone is treated the same.

"The rule of the club is there are no prima donnas, nobody dictates what training that myself and fellow coach Iain Goldie do," he said.

Paul Gordon with fellow Elgin Amateur Boxing Club coach Iain Goldie and his BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards...Picture: Daniel Forsyth..
Paul Gordon with fellow Elgin Amateur Boxing Club coach Iain Goldie and his BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards...Picture: Daniel Forsyth..

"I was asked who my most successful boxer was, I told them we don’t gauge success in winning things.

"It's the kid who comes in with a low self esteem and a few weeks later he’s strutting around like he’s king of the world, that for us is a success and an achievement.

"We have a number of females involved when a few years ago it was very rare when you got one. We now have half a dozen on the boxers’ night, that’s not the female-only nights but they are getting in there sparring with the guys.

"When you look at accomplishments for the club and the boxers, we have done well and it has very much been a team effort."
Paul Gordon in the corner with one of Elgin Amateur Boxing Club's many promising boxers. Picture: Daniel Forsyth.
Paul Gordon in the corner with one of Elgin Amateur Boxing Club's many promising boxers. Picture: Daniel Forsyth.

When Covid-19 closed down all sport including boxing in March, 2020, Gordon and his fellow coaches did everything they could to keep their members active.

"When this lockdown started I thought it would be three or four weeks before we’d be back at the club; little did I think how long it would be.

"So we did Zoom and Messenger training sessions to keep people going. We sent training programmes out to people as well.

"Once lockdown meant you could meet in person, the guys were coming to Rothes to train at the park there, running up the hills round us and training in our back garden while still keeping social distancing.

"We went up Ben Rinnes numerous times and trained up there.

"I think that’s why I got nominated due to the input of that.

"I guess some of the guys appreciate what we do for them at the club.

"It started at £3 and it's still £3, other clubs in the country have increased that but we want to make it as affordable as possible. It makes it a sport for everybody.

"The kids and the adults appeciate the time we have put in and I’ve been given this award, but it’s an award for the club, not for me."

Elgin Amateur Boxing Club has produced national champions while products like Andrew Smart and Fraser Wilkinson have progressed to the professional boxing ranks.

"We’ve had good successes – including district and national champions and my daughter, Megan who represented Scotland at youth and senior Commonwealth Games.

Paul Gordon with daughter Megan and his award. Photo: BBC Sport
Paul Gordon with daughter Megan and his award. Photo: BBC Sport

"But the champions are treated exactly the same as any kid who has just come into the club for the first time.

"It’s very rewarding seeing kids, male and female, develop with the club. It’s not all about winning medals and championships.

"As a coach you thrive on all the successes, whether that’s seeing one of your boxers win a title or seeing the improvement in a kid who has not had the best time at home or a kid who just wants to get fit.

"They’re all treated the same and if they see us coaches giving 100 per cent, they’ll do the same."

Gordon is originally from St Helens and moved to Moray in 1999 when he was posted to RAF Kinloss.

He set up home in Rothes, where he said his family was met with a friendly welcome and he loves living by the Spey and exploring the nearby hills and countryside.

Over the years Paul has coached scores of young boxers. The club currently has around 25 registered boxers and seven who are involved in coaching.

Gordon makes the 20 mile round trip to the club from his home around five times a week, including Sundays where he helps out with Boxing Scotland’s Performance Pathway programme.

"The average span of an amateur boxer is two to five years, but we have boxers who have been coming here for 10 to 12 years. That says something about how highly regarded the club is in the area."



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