Eaglesham and Mirfin are BBC Scotland Unsung Heroes

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Feature: BBC Scotland Sports Unsung Heroes

Janice Eaglesham and Ian Mirfin have jointly won the BBC Scotland Sports Unsung Hero award for 2011.

The Cambuslang couple are the founders, coaches and organisers of a club for athletes with disabilities in Glasgow.

The Red Star Athletics Club at Crownpoint in Dennistoun opened its doors in 1990.

Now in its ninth year, the BBC Sports Unsung Hero Award recognises contributions by individuals at the grassroots level of local sport.

Veteran athletics coach Tommy Boyle, who has worked with many top Scottish athletes, including Tom McKean and Yvonne Murray, presented the trophy to Eaglesham and Mirfin at the club.

"It's fantastic for Janice and Ian," said Boyle. "They have inspired so many athletes to be the best they can in sport and in life."

The Red Star club began with just one athlete, Sam Howie, who has a visual impairment, while Eaglesham and Mirfin were nominated by Jamie Cuthbertson, who was blinded in an explosives accident while serving with the Royal Engineers.

He said: "When I moved home to Glasgow, I wanted to find some way of going back to my interest in running, but no mainstream clubs had the knowledge or understanding to help.

"By chance a friend suggested contacting Janice at Red Star Athletics Club. It was the best move I could have made as they helped me find a training partner and appropriate competition and fully supported my return to competitive running."

Eaglesham, 53, who recently retired as a sports development officer with Glasgow City Council, said: "We get as much out of running the club as the athletes do by taking part. It's a pleasure - we have been very fortunate to have worked with so many exceptional people."

Mirfin, 52, a staff development officer with South Lanarkshire Council, added: "We have gained far more in return than we have ever invested. It's humbling to work with these athletes and to watch them progress and achieve their goals."

The duo now progress to the Unsung Hero final as the winners for Scotland. BBC Sports Unsung Hero is one of the categories at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year, which will be held at MediaCityUK in Salford on 22 December.

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