Wales Sport Awards 2017 Inspirational Finalists Revealed.

Sport Wales and BBC Wales have today (30 October) announced the final fifteen nominees who will compete for the community awards at this year’s prestigious Wales Sport Awards.

The finalists were short-listed from a record number of nominations across five different categories.

The five awards celebrate the hard work and impact that Wales’ volunteers, coaches, and organisations have had on community sport in Wales.  The finalists’ inspiring stories will be recognised and shared with the nation at the awards evening on Monday 4 December, to be held at the Celtic Manor Resort, Newport.

The finalists for 2017 are:

Volunteer of the Year

Fateha Ahmed – Swimming, Cardiff
Rebecca Caddell – Rugby, Brynaman
Rebecca Jones-Morris – Athletics, y Felinheli

Community Coach of the Year

Chris Rogers – Equestrian, Rhondda Cynon Taf
Mark James – Boxing, Newport
Sara Jane Cuffin – Gymnastics, Holyhead

Inspiring Young Person of the Year

Hannah Nolan – Multi-sport, Llandudno
Eban Geal – Multi-sport, Angelsey
Jodie Coupland – Multi-sport, Bridgend

Organisation of the Year

Disability Sport Wales
Ospreys in the Community
The Outdoor Partnership

Sporting Experience of the Year

Us Girls Wales
Young Ambassadors Programme
Disability Sport Wales – Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board: The Health Disability Sport Partnership.

Lawrence Conway, Chair of Sport Wales commented:

“Every year our expert panel of judges face the difficult task of selecting their finalists, and the calibre of this year’s candidates made it just as challenging.

“We have an inspiring mix of projects and people from a range of backgrounds dedicated to delivering sport and recreational activity in the community.

“The finalists showcase the diversity of sport and what the people of Wales are getting excited and motivated to participate in.  We look forward to celebrating their work in December.”

Rhodri Talfan Davies, Director of BBC Wales said:

“With a record number of nominations, the quality of this year’s finalists showcase the sheer commitment and hard work that underpins sporting activity across communities in Wales.”






More information on the finalists. Further details available on request.

Volunteer of the Year

Fateha Ahmed – Swimming/Cardiff

Fateha launched a project where Muslim women in Cardiff could swim and exercise in private.  The swimming sessions have had a huge impact on these women who were not previously physically active.  It has allowed them to become healthier and introduced a social life, as well as address common mental health concerns including stress, anxiety and depression.

Rebecca Caddell – Rugby/Brynaman

Fixture secretary, caterer, fundraiser and founder of Brynaman RFC’s junior section, Rebecca has been the driving force behind the section’s activities and growth since its inception in 2012.  Rebecca manages her MS whilst also managing relationships across the whole club – listening to and caring for every single member.  Rebecca’s innovative ideas have also been recognised, including her ‘kit bag’ where children’s outgrown training kit is washed and offered to the younger members.

Rebecca Jones-Morris – Athletics/Y Felinheli

Dedicating an average of 500 voluntary hours a year, Rebecca’s dedication to developing Menai Track and Field into a thriving and sustainable athletics club is evident through her success in raising significant funds and securing grants.  Furthermore, she has used her wealth of experience to inspire a new generation of athletes, coaches, volunteers, team managers and officials.

Community Coach of the Year

Chris Rogers – Equestrian/Rhondda Cynon Taf

Chris is changing lives in the RCT area at her club and her weekly equestrian vaulting classes. Children with and without a disability are not only being taught how to vault, but about safety, looking after equipment and how to work with the horses on site.  Both the Talygarn Vaulters and the school pupils that attend have noticed considerable differences in the students’ physical fitness, balance, co-ordination and confidence since Chris’ involvement.

Mark James – Boxing/Newport

Over the past 12 months Mark has cemented his community boxing club (Somerton ABC) into the heart of the local community.  Mark goes the extra mile – establishing all-important partnerships and sponsors, developing a sustainable workforce, engaging with the area’s diverse community with considerable efforts with young people.  Mark is known to take care of the little details, and arrives 45 minutes early to each session to hang all 12 boxing bags and erect the portable boxing ring.

Sara Jane Cuffin – Gymnastics/Holyhead

Sara’s tireless work at Ynys Môn Gymnastics Club means that children and young people from the area can enjoy classes six days a week, all lead by Sara herself.  Sara goes above and beyond to cater for the community’s needs, and has proudly developed brand-new classes for children with disabilities to experience the fun and safe environment of her classes.


Inspiring Young Person of the Year

Hannah Nolan – Multi-sport/Llandudno

Hannah’s life has been turned around through sport and she volunteers at countless Conwy Youth Service physical activity sessions and events.  Described as a role model and an inspiration, Hannah is considered a critical member of the community’s projects and a fantastic asset to engage with young people of her age.

Eban Geal – Multi-Sport/Angelsey

As the first Young Ambassador from Anglesey and North West Wales to come through the pathway from a Bronze Young Ambassador in primary school to a Bronze Plus, Silver and now a Gold Young Ambassador at secondary school, Eban takes great pride in his work running numerous multi-sport and physical activity sessions in the area.  Having completed over 300 hours of volunteering work, he uses his experiences and learned skills to inspire and mentor his peers.

Jodie Coupland – Multi-sport/Bridgend

Jodie faced a tough and unsettled start to life but a ‘last chance’ opportunity to take part in Dame Kelly Holmes’ Get on Track programme helped her get her life back on track.  She has since volunteered her time to promote and deliver the same programmes in communities across south Wales and has become a role model and an inspiration to those who meet and work with her.


Organisation of the Year

Disability Sport Wales

Disability Sport Wales supports a community programme which is significant in its scale and impact. With nearly 23,000 club members and over a million participation opportunities per year, it is widely regarded as being one of the world leading programmes for the delivery of disability sport.

As well as raising in-excess of £1m additional income through commercialisation and sponsorship since 2012, the organisation has also put Wales on the map with great success elite events including the 2017 World Para-Athletic Championships.

Ospreys in the Community

This young charity in Swansea has created a wide range of innovative programmes that aim to provide, motivate, inspire and empower the community to play an active part in sport.  Whilst running sessions for people with a disability, for both girls and boys, working with schools and supporting Welsh medium sessions for tots, the charity has engaged with an impressive 10,000 people between June and August this year alone to ensure the sport is accessible to all.

The Outdoor Partnership

This year participation initiatives have inspired over 14,000 individual participation activities in outdoor sports at club, county, regional and national levels through participation, education, volunteering and employment programmes.  The north-west Wales charity is changing lives with innovative approaches including taster sessions, festivals and an increasingly popular volunteers programme.  The commitment of the project’s volunteers is astounding. If the same contribution had to be purchased it would cost a minimum of £1.7m per annum – equivalent to 2432 full-time jobs.


Sporting Experience of the Year

Us Girls

Run by sports charity StreetGames, the programme aimed to significantly increase regular participation in sport and exercise among inactive girls aged 13-19 living in poverty or semi-poverty in Wales.  A flagship social media campaign – UsGirlsBesties – captured the participants’ exciting and positive experiences of physical activities, including Us Girls Rocks festivals which brought girls together from all over the country.  The programme achieved staggering results of attracting new ‘hard-to-reach’ female participants, new volunteers, coaches and leaders, and targets were surpassed among BME communities and disability demographic.

Young Ambassadors Programme

A programme aiming to empower and inspire young people to become leaders through sport, it has had a significantly successful year with numerous ambassadors reaching their gold and even platinum status, as well as award-winning voluntary work dedicated by ambassadors across the country, and several now utilising their skills in employment within the sport sector.  Since its inception in 2010, around 12,000 Young Ambassadors have been trained across Wales, volunteering thousands of hours to school and community sport, making a difference to young people’s lives and making a significant impact on sport in Wales.

Disability Sport Wales – Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board: The Health Disability Sport Partnership.

A joint partnership between Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCUHB) and Disability Sport Wales (DSW) and the first of its kind in the UK, the Health Disability Sport Partnership aimed to develop a strong and sustainable relationship between the Health and sport networks across North Wales, in order to achieve a common aim of ‘improving the health and wellbeing of disabled people across North Wales through increased participation in physical activity, including sport’.

Supported by countless third sector partners, 560 disabled people were signposted to physical activity opportunities and that three went on to represent Wales in their chosen sport.  Reports show that participants felt greater confidence, increased socialisation, and gave them a sense of belonging.

The partnership is helping reduced the burden of physical inactivity on the health board in a sustainable fashion.