Wales Sport Awards
GERAINT THOMAS AND JO COOMBS TAKE WALES SPORT AWARDS HONOURS
Following Wales’ best ever Commonwealth Games medal haul, cyclist Geraint Thomas and gymnastics coach, Jo Coombs, took the major titles at the Wales Sport Awards ceremony in Cardiff this evening (Monday December 8).
Thomas, who was presented the award by fellow cyclist Sir Bradley Wiggins, went straight from his highest-placed finish in the Tour de France to the Commonwealth Games, where he won a bronze in the Time Trial and then, remarkably, overcame a late puncture and a wheel change to claim gold in the Road Race. It was a performance that secured him the public vote to win the BBC Wales Sports Personality of the Year Award.
Coombs took the Coach of the Year title after leading the rhythmic gymnastics squad to an unprecedented eight medals at the Games.
Thomas, who took Olympic Gold in 2012, beat off Frankie Jones (2nd place) and Manon Carpenter (3rd place) to win the BBC Wales accolade.
Sport Wales and BBC Cymru Wales had joined forces again to hold the country’s biggest annual sporting celebration. The Wales Sport Awards were held at the Sport Wales National Centre in Cardiff.
Other outstanding achievements in Welsh sport were honoured at the event.
The winners were:
• Team of the Year – Team Wales (Commonwealth Games)
• Lifetime Achievement (Elite) Award – Terry Griffiths (snooker)
• Lifetime Achievement (Community) Award – Terry Grey (boxing)
• Volunteer of the Year – Donna Marshall (Taffs Well RFC)
• Young Volunteer of the Year – Rhys Young (Bridgend)
• Young Coach of the Year – Niall McGuinness (Rhyl FC)
• Carwyn James Junior Sportsman of the Year – David Omoregie (athletics)
• Carwyn James Junior Sportswoman of the Year – Laura Halford (rhythmic gymnastics)
• Coach to Disabled People – Paul Jenkins (South Wales Pirates Wheelchair Rugby Club)
• Unsung Hero – Bill Marlow (Mid Wales Orienteering Club)
• Community Coach of the Year – Royden Healey (Ruthin Tri Stars)
The Team of the Year went to Team Wales for their record breaking Commonwealth Games medal total of 36, which put them ahead of all the home nations – as well as Australia and New Zealand - on the medals per capita table.
Snooker legend Terry Griffiths was given the Lifetime Achievement (Elite) award. Griffiths won the World Championship in 1979, he had a glittering career as a player at the highest level, and then became the leading coach in the game.
The Lifetime Achievement (Community) honour was given to Swansea boxing stalwart Terry Grey. He took over the running of the Gwent Amateur Boxing Club in 1971 and has built a thriving boxing and sport venue in one of Wales’ most deprived communities.
Taffs Well RFC’s Donna Marshall picked up the Volunteer of the Year for work that includes giving young people with autism opportunities to play the game, while the Young Volunteer of the Year went to Bridgend’s Rhys Young.
Rhyl FC Academy coach Niall McGuinness took the Young Coach of the Year prize for boosting numbers and helping players make the step-up to professional clubs.
The Carwyn James Sportsman of the Year prize was was given to David Omoregie. The 19 year-old 110m hurdler won bronze at the World Junior Championships in July 2014 in a time of 13.35 seconds.
Commonwealth Games rhythmic gymnast Laura Halford won the Carwyn James Sportswoman of the Year. After taking the Welsh and British senior titles earlier in the year the 18 year-old won three Commonwealth Games medals.
Paul Jenkins coached the British Invictus Games wheelchair rugby team to gold alongside his work with the South Wales Pirates club - earning him the crown of top Coach to Disabled People.
Newtown’s Bill Marlow, a former teacher, now dedicates his time to getting kids in Mid-Wales involved in orienteering. After winning the BBC Cymru Wales Unsung Hero award Bill will now go on to represent Wales in the UK final, which will be announced during BBC Sports Personality of the Year on BBC One Wales on Sunday night, 14 December.
To complete the list of winners, Royden Healey, the triathlon coach who has given hundreds of young people the opportunity to try the sport, won the Community Coach of the Year.
Chair of Sport Wales, Professor Laura McAllister said:
“Every year we strive to achieve more as a nation in sport, and winners at the Wales Sport Awards highlight that we have stepped up another level.
“At both the elite and grassroots level we are seeing unprecedented success in terms of medals and the numbers of people taking part in sport.
“Our next challenge is to support more and more individuals to have the same impact as our Awards winners. It’s the only way we’ll continue the positive momentum in Welsh sport.”
Rhodri Talfan Davies, Director, BBC Cymru Wales said:
“What an extraordinary year it’s been for Welsh sport. The ceremony was the perfect opportunity to focus on the achievements of those inspirational teams and individuals who have made the last 12 months so special.
“From cycling and football to boxing and gymnastics, it's a thrill to see this wealth of world-class sports men and women competing for Wales - as well as recognising those talents behind the scenes who make it all possible.
The ceremony will be replayed in full on the Red Button at 10pm on Monday, December 8. BBC iPlayer viewing will be available for seven days.