Geraint Thomas is BBC Wales Sports Personality of the Year 2018

Cyclist Geraint Thomas has rounded off a golden year by being crowned BBC Wales Sports Personality of the Year 2018.

He was announced as the winner in the star-studded Wales Sport Awards tonight, with snooker’s Mark Williams and skeleton racer Laura Deas announced in second and third place.

The 32-year-old road and track cyclist treated fans to one of the greatest moments in Welsh sporting history, with a faultless performance which saw him become the first Welshman to win the Tour de France. He was welcomed home by a crowd of more than 8,000 people who had lined the streets of Cardiff, and that support has been echoed again as Thomas topped the poll for the BBC Wales Sports Personality of the Year.

Other sporting heroes were honoured at the event, as Sport Wales and BBC Wales joined forces once again to hold the country’s biggest annual sporting celebration at the Celtic Manor Resort, Newport.
Tanni Grey-Thompson was given a lifetime achievement award. One of the most successful Paralympians of all-time, she is also a champion of disability sports and has campaigned tirelessly on athlete welfare.

The other winners were:

Team of the Year Award – Cardiff Devils
Coach of the Year – Jayne Ludlow
BBC Get Inspired Unsung Hero Award – Asa Waite
Carwyn James Sportswoman of the Year Award – Elynor Backstedt
Carwyn James Sportsman of the Year Award – James Bowen
Inspiring Young Person Award – Fran Smith
Volunteer of the Year Award – Gareth Lanagan
Organisation of the Year Award – The Outdoor Partnership
Getting Wales Active Award – Get Out, Get Active
Community Coach of the Year – Aled Jones-Davies

For the second year running, Cardiff Devils have taken the award for Team of the Year having cemented their place as one of the best teams in the history of the sport in the UK. They reached the final of the Challenge Cup, won the Earhardt Conference and finished top the Elite League once again before going on to win the play-off final for the first time since 1999.

Coach of the Year was awarded to coach of the Welsh ladies football team Jayne Ludlow, whose team has soared to their highest place ever in the world rankings under her leadership.

Founder of the Newport Aces Basketball Club Asa Waite was named the Unsung Hero for his dedication to encouraging youngsters to take part in sport.

The Carwyn James Sportsman of the Year award went to jockey James Bowen who raced into the record books this year as the youngest winner of the Welsh Grand National aged just 16.

Cyclist Elynor Backstedt was named the Carwyn James Sportswoman of the Year Award. A national junior champion on the track, Elynor was part of the team pursuit quartet that won bronze at the World Championships and then went on to finish third at the World Road Junior Championships.

The Inspiring Young Person accolade went to Fran Smith from Caernarfon. A coach, volunteer and mentor, Fran has put in hundreds of volunteer hours despite her struggle with chronic fatigue and other health issues.

Volunteer of the Year was Gareth Lanagan for his passion in developing cricket in Dolgellau, whilst Aled Jones-Davies was named the Community Coach of the Year for work in promoting running in his hometown of Carmarthen.

Organisation of the Year Award went to the Outdoor Partnership for their work in helping thousands of people use outdoor activity to improve their lives in Gwynedd, whilst the Wales-wide venture Get Out, Get Active – a project which operates in Wrexham, Pembrokeshire and Rhondda Cynon Taff – won the Getting Wales Active Award for its success in getting at least 1,500 inactive people in Wales moving.

Receiving his award, Geraint Thomas BBC Cymru Wales Sports Personality of the Year 2018 said: “This is massive. It’s something I always grew up watching when I was younger and just to be nominated shows that you’ve done something special. So to win it, and to have everyone to vote for me, is really nice. It’s a lovely way to finish off the year.”

Reflecting on the success of his year, Geraint Thomas said: “Even before the Tour, winning the Dauphiné was my biggest result to that point. And then to go on, and do what happened in the Tour was insane. And now this is a lovely way to cap it all off.”

Rhodri Talfan Davies, Director, BBC Wales said: “Congratulations to Geraint Thomas on this accolade, and to everyone who has been honoured this evening. Tonight is a fantastic opportunity to celebrate the best of Welsh sporting success; from the grassroots volunteers who are the backbone of clubs to the glittering success of our top athletes, it’s about saying thank you to those who make Welsh sport what it is.”

Sarah Powell, Chief Executive of Sport Wales, said: “Once again, the Awards have served as an opportunity to celebrate the very best of sporting life from across the country. We are incredibly proud of all of the sporting stars – both grassroots and elite – and are positive that they will help inspire more people to enjoy an active lifestyle in Wales. The Wales Sport Awards allow us the chance to look back and celebrate what the sporting year had to offer and look forward to what 2019 has in store.”

Inspiring Caernarfon teen wins national Wales Sport Award

A young wheelchair tennis star will be recognised for her voluntary work in sport by receiving the Inspiring Young Person accolade at the Wales Sport Awards 2018.

Caernarfon teenager Fran Smith has put in hundreds of volunteer hours despite her struggle with chronic fatigue and other health issues.
Fran, 19, will receive the accolade at the Wales Sport Awards 2018, held at the Celtic Manor on December 4.

The Cardiff Met student is well respected in the world of disability sport, including wheelchair basketball, tennis and boccia.

Volunteering is a family affair and Fran credits her caring nature to her mum, Deb Bashford, a wheelchair user herself and passionate sports volunteer.

“She’s taught me so much in life” explained Fran, whose mum also won a Volunteer Award at the Wales Sport Awards two years ago.

She added: “When you grow up with a severely disabled mother who never lets anything stop her, you think why should I let anything stop me?”

The mother and daughter duo often spend time together helping at Caernarfon Celts wheelchair basketball club in their Gwynedd hometown.

Her proud mum added: “I encouraged Fran to get involved, but she took it to the next level.

“At just 19 years old, she has gone above and beyond what I could have ever imagined. It is mind blowing. I am so proud of her.”

A few years back, inspiring teen Fran said she “hit rock bottom” in her life, but volunteering and competing in wheelchair tennis helped her through it.

She explained: “I didn’t know what to do with my life and I never want other people to feel the way I did when I was at my lowest point.”

Coach, volunteer and mentor Fran proudly sits on the Disability Sport Wales Youth Board to help inspire others.

According to Gwynedd Disability Sport Wales Officer Marcus Politis, she has “maturity way beyond her years.”

He said: “Fran is a stand-out volunteer and with her commitment to local, regional and national projects, she has developed into a model professional.”

Her university agrees. Dan Heggs, Head of Department and Principal Lecturer in Psychology at Cardiff Met added: “We are delighted that Fran has been recognised for the fantastic attitude she displays day to day and the time she gives to volunteering and ultimately enthusing others to engage with sport.

“She is a very inspiring individual and I’m confident that she has a successful future ahead of her.”

Sarah Powell, CEO at Sport Wales added: “Yet again, we have a very high standard of community award winners who demonstrate the amazing work happening in grassroots sport.

“I have no doubt that hearing about these groups and individuals will help motivate and inspire others to enjoy sport and the many opportunities it offers.”

For more information about this year’s event, visit www.walessportawards.co.uk or follow #WSA2018

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L2Uob5JAm10

 

North Wales organisation wins prestigious Wales Sport Award

A Gwynedd woman who lost 6 stone when she started climbing, has praised an award-winning charity for the part they played in her dramatic life change.

The Outdoor Partnership has been announced as Organisation of the Year at the Wales Sport Awards 2018. They help thousands of people use outdoor activity to improve their lives – including Gwenllian Dafydd, from Bethesda.

Gwenllian, 30, who started climbing sessions at the Indy Climbing Wales in Llanfairpwll on Anglesey last year explained: “I was at a crossroads in my life.

“I weighed more than I ever had, I was inactive and I felt really down.”

She went from a Size 20-22 to a Size 10 and now climbs, runs and has signed up to a skiing course.

She added: “My climbing instructor never made me feel like I wasn’t good enough or needed to change, but the sessions gave me the tools I needed to help me.”

Gwenllian realised how far she had come when she took part in her first outdoor climb. She recalled: “I sat at the top of the 300ft climb watching the sunset and realised I was living this life thanks to the Outdoor Partnership.

“It is something I would never have done before starting climbing with them.”

The Partnership has been recognised for their work in driving inclusivity in the outdoor sector. Their This Girl’s Adventure programme is just one of the initiatives going from strength to strength.

Tracey Evans CEO explained: “The work of the Partnership inspires local people to engage in outdoor activity for their health, wellbeing and confidence and helps provide new opportunities to change lives for the better.”

In the past year alone, the team has inspired over 16,000 people, by working closely with its 45-member clubs, partners and local employers.

The Organisation of the Year Award helps recognise success in encouraging people in Wales to participate in sport and physical activity.

Sarah Powell, CEO at Sport Wales said: “Yet again, we have a very high standard of community award winners who demonstrate the amazing work happening in grassroots sport.

“I have no doubt that hearing about these groups and individuals will help motivate and inspire others to enjoy sport and the many opportunities it offers.”
The Wales Sport Awards will take place at Celtic Manor on Tuesday 4 December.

For more information about the event, please go to www.walessportawards.co.uk or follow #WSA2018

 

Local coach runs away with national Wales Sport Award

Carmarthen coach Aled Jones-Davies has today been named Community Coach of the Year for his dedication to Taf Running and Orienteering Team (TROTs).

The award will be presented at the Wales Sport Awards 2018, celebrating the best of elite and grassroots sport in Wales at Celtic Manor on Tuesday 4 December.
Club member Yvonne Davies has praised the hard work of local ambassador Aled.

She nominated Aled on behalf of the club, for encouraging them and helping them improve their running.

She explained: “He has brought sport into the lives of many through his tireless work. I’m not the fastest runner, but Aled has always motivated me to train and race.”

Yvonne also thanks Aled for helping her daughter Ffion, who has cerebral palsy and epilepsy, find a passion for running.

She continued: “Ffion has been fully integrated into the junior group and Aled helps her do the activities like all the others, but just adapts some for her.
“She absolutely loves the club and cannot wait for Thursday nights.”

“His decision and hard work setting up the junior sessions and working with local schools shows his passion for the future of the sport.

“He is giving children opportunities otherwise not open to them.”

The Community Coach of the Year Award recognises the outstanding contribution of a coach in getting more people started, enjoying and succeeding within community sport.

Builder Aled has not only used his spare time to grow club membership but also to promote the sport to the wider community.

He re-introduced the Cilycwm fun run two years ago, something he loved taking part in as a child before it stopped.

The now-annual event helps to raise thousands of pounds for Llandovery Community Hospital and other local causes.

On top of all this, he helps marshal at the local Parkrun – including a Christmas Day special event.

Chris Davies, Direction of Parkrun Wales added his recognition for Aled: “It’s wonderful that he has received this accolade which not only recognises his dedication to coaching but also for volunteering his support for Parkrun.

“Without his help, and other volunteers like him, it simply couldn’t flourish as a major influence in a happier and healthier Wales.”

Sarah Powell, CEO at Sport Wales said: “Yet again, we have exceptional community award winners who demonstrate the amazing work happening in grassroots sport.

“I have no doubt that hearing about these groups and individuals will help motivate and inspire others to enjoy sport and the many opportunities it offers.”

For more information about the event, please go to www.walessportawards.co.uk or follow #WSA2018

 

 

 

 

 

Dolgellau’s Mr Cricket wins national Wales Sport Award

A Gwynedd volunteer, known as Dolgellau’s ‘Mr Cricket,’ is today announced as Volunteer of the Year at the Wales Sport Awards 2018.

College maths teacher Gareth Lanagan will accept the award at a glitzy ceremony of Welsh sporting stars at Celtic Manor on December 4.

Described by one of his peers as “one of the linchpins of cricket in Gwynedd,” Gareth aims to introduce the sport to new audiences.

Stuart Evans, who nominated him, explained: “We’ve gone from a club that was just about surviving, to one that it is thriving, thanks to Gareth.

“Sometimes I wonder if he actually sleeps! He loves cricket and loves Dolgellau cricket club. He is most definitely our Mr Cricket.”

The head coach, first team captain and chairman has been key in developing a family-friendly club. He is passionate about the Welsh language and sport in Gwynedd.

He started up a female cricket team last year and has developed the future of the club, with a thriving junior side.

Gareth, who lives in Aberystwyth but works and volunteers in Dolgellau, said: “Cricket is a game that has given me so much. I want others to have the opportunities that I’ve had.

“The dream would be that in years to come one of the youngsters I coach can take my place on the first team.”

Sarah Powell, CEO at Sport Wales said: “Yet again, we have an exceptional standard of community award winners who demonstrate the amazing work happening in grassroots sport.

“I have no doubt that hearing about these groups and individuals will help motivate and inspire others to enjoy sport and the many opportunities it offers.”

The Volunteer of the Year category recognises an individual who devotes their time to support, develop or champion sport.

The Wales Sport Awards is held jointly between Sport Wales and BBC Wales. For more information about this year’s event, visit www.walessportawards.co.uk or follow #WSA2018 

 

 

 

PAN-WALES PROJECT WINS INAUGURAL GETTING WALES ACTIVE AWARD

A project that has got at least 1,500 inactive people in Wales moving has picked up a brand new award for its work.

Today Get Out, Get Active (GOGA) has been named the inaugural Getting Wales Active winner for the Wales Sport Awards 2018.

The project, running across Wrexham, Pembrokeshire and Rhondda Cynon Taf (RCT), is managed by Disability Sport Wales, thanks to Spirit of 2012 funding.

With the benefits of physical activity on mental health dominating the news agenda, GOGA sees disabled and non-disabled people take part in sporting opportunities together.

Michelle Daltry, Partnership Manager at Disability Sport Wales explained: “We have been delighted to work in partnership to explore new and innovative ways of engaging disabled and non-disabled people who, prior to GOGA, have been considered as inactive.

“It has been inspiring to see the growth of these programmes and the journeys that the children, families, coaches and volunteers have been through.”

In RCT the focus is on getting disabled people and families of all backgrounds active together by enjoying children’s rugby, walking football and autism-friendly swimming for families.

One of the children who plays in the inclusive rugby sessions, Daniel Jacob Roberts, aged 11 explained: “I have autism. I love playing rugby and I have even made some new friends.”

In Pembrokeshire, the programme takes advantage of the beautiful coastline with a focus on disability access and the Welsh outdoors.

In Wrexham, the very popular ‘Ladies Night’ helps get local women running, playing tennis, golf and more.

Sharon Ritchie, 55, who took part in Ladies Golf said: “Sport has never been something I have ever engaged in due to me not feeling comfortable enough or even capable of being able to do it.

“I am now regularly playing golf within an accessible environment by an inclusive coach whilst participating in something I enjoy.

“Golf has changed my own life and the other ladies, it has increased my confidence, self-esteem and made me believe in myself.

“I now have a hobby that I love and that I can share with my family and newly made friends.”

Debbie Lye, Chief Executive, Spirit of 2012 added: “To date, more than 13,000 people have benefited from GOGA funding across 18 locations in the UK, including Wrexham, Pembrokeshire and Rhondda Cynon Taff in Wales.

“We’re so proud that the wonderful work of our Disability Sport Wales partnership has been recognised with this award.

“GOGA participants don’t just boost their physical wellbeing, their mental health also improves in a sociable environment where they have fun and make new friends – there are wins all round.”

Sarah Powell, CEO at Sport Wales added: “Yet again, we have an exceptional standard of community award winners who demonstrate the amazing work happening in grassroots sport.

“I have no doubt that hearing about these groups and individuals will help motivate and inspire others to enjoy sport and the many opportunities it offers.”

For more information about the event, please go to www.walessportawards.co.uk or follow #WSA2018

 

 

 

 

BBC Cymru Wales Sports Personality of the Year shortlist revealed

The shortlist for the BBC Cymru Wales Sports Personality of the Year award has been announced.

Sportspeople from a range of disciplines are included in the shortlist which is reflective of Wales’ success in a number of fields. It includes:

·         Gareth Bale (Football)

·         Elinor Barker (Cycling)

·         Laura Deas (Skeleton bobsleigh)

·         Menna Fitzpatrick (Skiing)

·         Geraint Thomas (Cycling)

·         Mark Williams (Snooker)

Voting opens on the 26th of November and the winner will be announced in a star-studded awards ceremony in the Celtic Manor on Tuesday 4 December.

The stellar list of previous winners of the award includes footballing legend Ryan Giggs, boxer Joe Calzaghe, Paralympian Tanni Grey-Thompson.

Wales Sport Awards 2017
Celtic Manor Resort
04.12.17
©Steve Pope – Sportingwales

Sarah Powell, Chief Executive of Sport Wales said: “It has been another outstanding year for Welsh sport with some truly remarkable performances on the international stage from individuals and teams and this is reflected in a really strong shortlist. I didn’t envy the panel having to select a final six from the many performances that captured the Welsh public’s imagination over the last 12 months and look forward to finding out who the public crown BBC Cymru Sports Personality of the Year at the awards.

“The Wales Sport Awards is an evening of celebration and a wonderful opportunity to thank those who have inspired and motivated us. Those who have worked tirelessly in their local communities to provide opportunities for people to enjoy sport stand shoulder to shoulder with those who have represented Wales at the highest level.  Together they highlight just what sport brings to people in Wales.”

Wales Sport Awards 2017
Celtic Manor Resort
04.12.17
©Steve Pope – Sportingwales

Rhodri Talfan Davies, Director of BBC Wales, said: “The unveiling of the BBC Cymru Wales Sports Personality of the Year is the highlight of the Wales Sport Awards, and an important opportunity for us to thank the people who have entertained and inspired us throughout the year. This is a rich shortlist and is reflective of an exceptional year of Welsh sport across a number of fields and I look forward to seeing the winner crowned next month.”

Other awards which will be given on the night include:

·         Volunteer of the Year

·         Community Coach of the Year

·         The Inspiring Young Person award

·         The Getting Wales Active award

·         Organisation of the Year award

·         BBC Get Inspired Unsung Hero

Judging Panel 2018

Meet the Wales Sport Awards judging panel for this years’ community awards …

Lowri Morgan

Lowri Morgan is a world-class endurance athlete, BAFTA and multi-award-winning TV presenter, journalist, speaker and adventurer. After overcoming adversity, after a serious sporting accident 18 years ago and despite being told that she would never be able to run properly again, Lowri has competed in, and won, some of the most extreme races in the world.
The mother-of-one has been a TV presenter for over 17 years, working with companies including live TV with BBC Sport, ITV, Channel 4 and S4C and more recently with international broadcasters presenting documentaries about overseas tribes.

James Ledger

James, 25, competed for Team Wales at this year’s Commonwealth Games in the T12 (athletes with visual impairment) 100m event.
The athlete, originally from Swansea and now living in Cardiff, has been fortunate enough to represent Wales and GB globally. As someone growing up with a disability, he hadn’t thought this was something that could happen to him.
James co-ordinates the National Youth Board, as part of Disability Sport Wales to give young people with a disability in Wales a voice and help shape the future of sport.

Geoff Williams

Geoff Williams, Head of Sport at BBC Cymru/Wales has overseen coverage of major sporting events like The Olympic Games; Commonwealth Games; Rugby World Cup and Euros 2016 for audiences in Wales. He bring to the panel a wealth of broadcasting and sport experience.

Bronnie Griffiths


Student Bronnie, from Aberdare, is a valued member of the Young Ambassador Programme in Wales. The 20-year-old is currently studying Sport Leadership and Development at the University of South Wales. She started the YA journey as a Gold Ambassador at Sixth Form and says being part of the programme has improved her wellbeing.

Sunil Patel


Sunil is the Campaign Manager for Show Racism the Red Card charity and established the Wales office in 2006.  His personal experiences of dealing with racism and his passion for sport, has been the key ingredients that motivates Sunil and his desire to see a level playing field for all.  The charity is the leading anti-racism education charity in Wales. Outside of work, Sunil can be seen at football pitches around Cardiff on a Saturday morning with his two young sons or playing cricket during the Summer.

Sophie Howe


Sophie was appointed as the first Future Generations Commissioner for Wales in February 2016. Her role is to act as a guardian for the interests of future generations in Wales, and to support the public bodies listed in the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 to work towards achieving the well-being goals. Prior to this role, Sophie was the first Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner for South Wales and the only woman in a police commissioner leadership role in Wales. Sophie was the youngest Councillor in Wales when she was elected as a County Councillor in Cardiff at the age of 21.
She is currently a member of the Wales Committee of the Equality and Human Rights Commission and is Chair of the international Network of Institutions for Future Generations. She lives in Cardiff with her husband Ceri and their five children.

Ashok Ahir


Ashok is the Director of Communications for the UK Government in Wales.
He was the Chair of the organising committee for the 2018 National Eisteddfod and is a member of the Eisteddfod board.  He was previously Executive Editor of Politics at BBC Cymru Wales for many years, before establishing a successful bilingual communications agency.

 

 

Hannah – One Year On

What a difference a year makes.

  • On the path to training to become a teacher
  • A huge boost in confidence
  • Memories to last a lifetime.

Three things that youngster Hannah Nolan credits winning last year’s Inspiring Young Person Award at the Wales Sport Awards last year.

In 2017, we heard how the North Wales sport volunteer not only helped others, but also helped pull herself out of a dark place.

Hannah, who helped with the Healthy Image Project at Conwy Youth Service, said she was at ‘an all-time low’ with depression and anxiety and needed a reason to leave the house.

When she won the award, she had volunteered over 150 hours in her local community, while juggling school work, exams and helping to care for her Nan who was recovering from Lung Cancer.

“Being announced as the winner of the award felt absolutely surreal” remembers Hannah. “I couldn’t believe I had won, and it was the most amazing feeling in the world.”

Since winning the award, she has continued to volunteer but has also started on the road to becoming a teacher.

She explains: “Since December 2017, my confidence in everything I do has sky-rocketed and has actually given me the motivation to go further, not only continuing to help people through volunteering, but to become a teacher working one-to-one with children in need of support.”

She says winning the award helped her gain clarity: “I continued volunteering in my community trying to inspire the children and show them that anything is possible when you put your heart into it.” It also boosted her own career plans as she started researching ways to become a teacher.

She has recently started college on a course that can help make this possible.

“I can honestly say that if it wasn’t for this award, all the support I received and the confidence I gained, I don’t think I would have ever gone through with starting my life and journey into teaching.”

To nominate somebody for a community award for 2018, visit here and nominate by Friday 5th October.

Search is on for Wales’ Sporting Best

The Wales Sport Awards are back and at midday today, nominations open to find the community sport stars of the country.

As well as celebrating the very best of elite sport in Wales, the awards are looking for organisations, individuals and sporting experiences that are gripping the nation at a grassroots level.

The categories for nomination are:

  • Volunteer of the Year
  • Community Coach of the Year
  • Inspiring Young Person
  • Getting Wales Active (new award)
  • Organisation of the Year
  • BBC Get Inspired Unsung Hero

The Wales Sport Awards, hosted jointly by Sport Wales and BBC Cymru Wales, is the country’s biggest annual celebration of elite and grassroots sport.

Lawrence Conway, Chair of Sport Wales, says:

“Often, a volunteer, a coach or a programme, helps inspire someone to achieve at sport, but also to enjoy it for years to come. These awards offer the country a chance to thank those who help make Wales an active nation. We want the Awards to continue to capture the innovative, thrilling and diverse nature of Welsh sport. To do that, we need you to nominate. Let’s celebrate Welsh sport together.”

Rhodri Talfan Davies, Director, BBC Wales, says:

“The awards are an opportunity to honour outstanding achievements in Welsh sport, from volunteers at grassroots level to elite players at the top of their game. As we look back over the year, we celebrate the brilliant success of individuals and groups across the nation and we’re asking people to nominate those who’ve made a real difference.”

Last year’s winner of the Young Inspiring Person category, Hannah Nolan, has fond memories of her award: “Winning felt absolutely surreal, I couldn’t believe it” she said. “It was the most amazing feeling in the world and a brilliant experience with so many lovely people around supporting me and congratulating me.”

Nominations for the community awards are now open at walessportawards.co.uk where you can also find more information about the categories.

Nominations close at midday on Friday 5 October.

The Awards will take place at Celtic Manor on Tuesday 4 December.

The ceremony includes the presentation of the prestigious BBC Wales Sports Personality of the Year and Coach of the Year awards.