Rugby Union centre Jonathan Davies was tonight (Monday, 4 December) crowned the BBC Wales Sports Personality of the Year 2017 at the Wales Sport Awards. Jonathan finished ahead of runner-up Geraint Thomas, with Natalie Powell finishing in third place.
Jonathan has been one of the stand-out performers of 2017; voted the British and Irish Lions man of the series in New Zealand. The centre played every minute of the three Tests against the All Blacks as the Lions secured an historic series draw.
The 29-year-old began this year’s Six Nations with a try in Wales’ opening 33-7 win over Italy. Jonathan’s regional side, the Scarlets, beat Irish side Munster in Dublin in the Pro12 Final, and he was one of the Scarlets’ six try scorers in their 46-22 victory, which saw them claim the title for the first time since 2004.
Other outstanding achievements in Welsh sport 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.
The winners were:
- Team of the Year – Cardiff Devils
- Coach of the Year – Christian Malcolm (Athletics, Newport)
- Lifetime Achievement Award – Alan Curtis (Football, Swansea)
- Special Recognition Award – David Watkins
- Carwyn James Young Sportswoman of the Year – Catrin Jones (Weightlifting, Anglesey)
- Carwyn James Young Sportsman of the Year – Ben Woodburn (Football, Liverpool FC)
- Volunteer of the Year – Fateha Ahmed (Swimming, Cardiff)
- Inspiring Young Person of the Year – Hannah Nolan (Multi-sport, Llandudno)
- Organisation of the Year – Disability Sport Wales
- Sporting Experience of the Year – Us Girls
- Unsung Hero – Mike Blake (Fell Running, Caernarfon)
- Community Coach of the Year – Mark James (Boxing, Newport)
Cardiff Devils took the Team of the Year accolade after finishing top of the Elite League and winning the Challenge Cup and the Earhardt Conference, crowning one of their best years in history.
Coach of the Year Christian Malcolm has made an immediate impact following his transition from athlete to coach. As a relay coach, Christian’s men won gold at the World Championships setting GB and European records, while the women won silver. Then at the IPC Paralympic World Championships, he coached Jordan Howe to silver and Rhys Jones to a personal best in finishing in fourth place.
Alan Curtis was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award. Alan has spent a lifetime in football since making his debut for Swansea City in 1972. And he’s still there today, following sojourns at Leeds United and Southampton, a loan spell at Stoke City, and Cardiff City. Since retiring as a player the former Wales international (6 goals in 35 games for his country) has been an integral part of the Swansea City set up – including a number of spells as First Team Coach and Caretaker Manager – and is currently Loan Player Manager.
There was also a Special Recognition Award for David Watkins, a former dual code Rugby Union and League international who started his playing career for Newport RFC in 1961.
Catrin Jones won the Carwyn James Sportswoman of the Year. Catrin, a former gymnast, switched to weightlifting and has medalled at European junior level, won gold at the Commonwealth Youth Games and been the best in Britain at senior level.
The Carwyn James Sportsman of the Year prize was given to Wales and Liverpool FC’s Ben Woodburn. Ben shot to fame in 2017 – already Liverpool’s youngest-ever goalscorer, he scored a goal on his Wales debut – the winner against Austria, no less, which made him, at 17 years old, Wales’s second youngest goalscorer.
Fateha Ahmed was named Volunteer of the Year for her work organising and running private swimming sessions for Muslim women in Cardiff, while the Inspiring Young Person of the Year award went to Hannah Nolan of Llandudno. Hannah inspires young people to be active through Conwy’s youth service and benefit from sport in the same way that sport volunteering has lifted her from long periods of depression.
The Organisation of the Year award went to Disability Sport Wales which boasts over a million inclusive community participation opportunities per year and a host of world media winning athletes.
The Sporting Experience of the Year was awarded to the Us Girls project run by the StreetGames charity. The programme achieved staggering results of attracting new ‘hard-to-reach’ female participants, new volunteers, coaches and leaders.
Veteran fell-running organiser Mike Blake collected BBC Wales Sport’s Unsung Hero Award. Mike, now in his 70th year, has been a member of north Wales-based Eryri Harriers for nearly 40 years, and in that time has organised over 300 races, all voluntarily, with all proceeds going directly to local schools, community groups and mountain rescue.
He 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 at 6.45pm on Sunday, 17 December.
To complete the list of winners, Mark James, who devotes his time coaching boxing skills at his local club in Newport, won Community Coach of the Year.
Lawrence Conway, Chair of Sport Wales, said: “We received a record number of inspiring nominations for this year’s awards and tonight’s finalists showcase the passion and hard work going on in the communities here in Wales.
“I am proud of all the volunteers, coaches, leaders and organisations who are helping to build a more active and healthier nation, and it was a real honour to see them recognised as the true heroes of Welsh sport.
“Their achievements will no doubt encourage others across the country to get engaged in the community and help shape their Welsh sport of the future.”
Rhodri Talfan Davies, Director, BBC Wales added: “Tonight has been an opportunity to celebrate the success of inspirational teams and individuals who have made a real contribution to Welsh sport. The Wales Sport Awards have again recognised the talent and dedication of people right across Wales.”
The Wales Sport Awards 2017 will be available on BBC iPlayer for the next 30 days and will also be shown on the BBC Red Button at 5.30pm on Saturday, 9 December.