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 





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
©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
©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.

We’re back!

That’s right, on December 4th at the Celtic Manor, Sport Wales and BBC Cymru Wales are teaming up once again for the Wales Sport Awards.

The very best and most inspiring of elite and grassroots sport will join together to celebrate the passion we have for our sporty and active nation.

Got someone in mind that you want to shout about?

The nominations for the Community Awards open next week (Tuesday 18 September), but there’s no reason why you can’t get a head start and get those thinking caps on!

  • Do you know a young person who goes above and beyond to help motivate others to get active?
  • Are you eager to help get a hardworking volunteer recognised for all the hours they give to their community?
  • Perhaps you’ve been inspired to try a new sport yourself and think the organisation or session deserve an award?  

Need to refresh your mind on what happened last year? No problem!

After a difficult time with mental illness, Hannah Nolan gave back to her community by volunteering in sport and was recognised as the Inspiring Young Person of the Year. 

Transforming lives through sport, Disability Sport Wales took the Organisation of the Year Award. 

The ladies were out in force, as Us Girls picked up their award for Sporting Experience of the Year.

Mark James was recognised as Community Voulunteer of the Year for his dedication in coaching boxing in Newport.

While, Mike Blake swapped the high-vis jacket for a suit to collect the BBC Get Inspired Unsung Hero Award, for his 40 years + time helping Eryri Harriers in North Wales.

Fateha Ahmed took the Volunteer of the Year accolade after the amazing work she did the help get Muslim women in Cardiff swimming. 

With lots more awards up for grabs on the night, from Team of the Year (Cardiff Devils Ice Hockey) to the coveted BBC Cymru Wales Sports Personality of the Year (Jonathan Davies), we are very excited to meet this year’s winners.

To keep in the loop, follow #WSA2018 or see the News section


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.

Ospreys in the Community – Organisation of the Year finalist.

Rugby is at the heart of the community in Swansea, thanks to a registered charity who is helping empower local people through sport.

Ospreys in the Community (OitC) was set up in 2015.

“It uses the power of sport and the Ospreys brand to help people in the region make positive life choices” explains Steve Dalton OBE. Steve is Managing Director of Sony UK Technology Centre one of the supporters of the project.

“They are a forward-thinking organisation and in such a short space of time have grown to be a leading light in Welsh community sports” he adds.

This Summer, between the months of June and August alone, the organisation engaged with 10,000 people!

They aim to make sport accessible for all and work with deprived areas and hard to reach groups to make that happen.

They support the Ospreys Wheelchair Rugby team but also set up the only youth Wheelchair Rugby team in Wales. They work with groups such as teenage girls, the unemployed and disengaged school pupils, as well as in partnership with other organisations such as Disability Sport Wales, the Urdd and BME Sport Cymru.

Last Summer they hosted three beach rugby festivals where over 1,700 pupils from 50 schools took part. For many of the children it was their first introduction to the sport and some have gone on to join local clubs and school teams.

2017 was another big year for the organisation – the first Community Foundation attached to a PRO14 team to be set up. No stranger to being ‘first’, this year they also became the first rugby organisation in Wales to be a Duke of Edinburgh Award’s Licensed Organisation.

80% of the Foundation’s income has come from commercial activity, as Steve explains: “The team work with a large number of sponsors and local companies and their highly successful and collaborative approach, has seen them deliver several ground-breaking initiatives.”