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.
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.”