COMMONWEALTH QUEEN TO HELP CHOOSE SPORTING CLASS OF 2015

Multi-medal winning gymnast Frankie Jones will help select the very best of elite and grassroots sport for 2015 as part of the Wales Sport Awards judging panel.

Commonwealth Games gold medal winner Jones will help pick out the people who make sport tick and choose the finalists and winners whose efforts will be recognised at December’s prestigious ceremony in Cardiff.

She will be joined by Sport Wales chair Professor Laura McAllister, Head of Sport for BBC Wales Geoff Williams and sports journalist Carolyn Hitt.

Two-time Paralympian Pippa Britton, Bev Smith, a director at sports coach UK, and young ambassador Nia Weaver complete the panel.

BBC Wales and Sport Wales launched the Wales Sport Awards in 2013 as a new event to showcase the very best of elite and grassroots sport in Wales.

The two organisations have joined forces for the event to be held on Monday, December 7, at the Sport Wales National Centre in Cardiff, to host the country’s biggest annual sporting celebration.

Frankie Jones commented:

“I’m really looking forward to being a part of Wales Sport Awards Panel.

“There are so many people behind the scenes of sports that enable the magical moments that are usually the main focus in the public. It is a brilliant way to give recognition to some of these crucial people.

“The range of categories pretty much all had an impact on my career in sport and aided my success. From volunteers and community coaches right through to elite coaches and lifetime achievement awards for the people who dedicate a whole lifetime to sport.

“Without the passion and commitment shown by people such as this I would never have achieved my dreams within sport and this event is ideal to help thank some of these incredible individuals and really celebrate the year’s sporting successes.”

The awards include a range of categories for the public to nominate their favourite community and elite sporting heroes.

The Wales Sport Awards judging panel:

Frankie Jones

Retired gymnast Frankie Jones became one of Wales’ most decorated Commonwealth Games athletes after her performance at Glasgow 2014.

Winning six medals, including a gold in her final competition, she was awarded the David Dixon Award, which is given to the outstanding athlete of each Commonwealth Games.

Her medal haul in Scotland added to the silver medal she won at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi in 2010. She also represented TeamGB at the Olympics in London.

Carolyn Hitt

Carolyn is an award winning journalist and broadcaster and a well-known newspaper and magazine columnist.

An avid rugby fan, she was the first woman to win Welsh Sports Journalist of the Year and went on to win the award for the whole of the UK with a portfolio described as “outstanding” by the judges.

Laura McAllister

Laura McAllister is Professor of Governance at the University of Liverpool’s School of Management.

A former Wales football international and national team captain with 24 caps, as well as being Chair of Sport Wales, she is a Board Member of UK Sport, the Government’s agency for Olympic and Paralympic sport, and the Welsh Football Trust.

Geoff Williams

Geoff Williams has been Head of Sport, BBC Wales for five years. Geoff’s roles have included Senior Producer on Wales Today; Editor of Meet for Lunch, Editor of Radio Wales News and Managing Editor of Sport.

Bev Smith

Bev Smith is the Deputy Dean for Quality and Standards at Cardiff Metropolitan University. Her background is steeped in sport as a former international gymnast, national coach and international judge. Bev is currently a non-Executive Director of two sports organisations, namely Welsh Gymnastics and sports coach UK. She is also Chair of the UK Coaching Committee.

Pippa Britton

Pippa made her Paralympic debut at the Beijing Paralympic Games in 2008, and she made her second Games appearance in London.

She won medals at five World Championships that she has competed in, including winning Team gold in the 2007 World Championships just months after undergoing intensive spinal surgery.

She has recently been appointed as Chair of Disability Sport Wales.

Nia Weaver

A Year 12 pupil at Caereinion High School, Nia was recently appointed as a member of the National Young Ambassador Steering Group and became North Powys’ first ever Platinum Young Ambassador. She has worked closely with Commonwealth Games athletes to help promote minority sports and volunteered with Sport Powys to run the Sports Village in the National Eisteddfod 2015.

The BBC Wales Sports Personality of the Year and Coach of the Year are among the prestigious prizes that will form part of the Wales Sport Awards.

The BBC Wales Sports Personality of the Year prize will continue to be decided by a public vote from up to ten finalists chosen by a panel of sport experts.

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