Volunteer of the Year Finalist – Chris Landon

Welsh Cycling has certainly seen a boom in recent years with the likes of Geraint Thomas, Nicole Cooke, Becky James and Luke Rowe all rising through the ranks to become household names.

And there’s one man who has been there at the very start of their careers. Chris Landon – Mr Race Organiser extraordinaire – who has staged and organised around 60 races over 18 years:

“Nicole, Geraint, Luke…yes, they all competed in the circuit races at Llandow,” says Chris.

“A big part of what drives me is that I can help give opportunities to those that go on to greater things. I really enjoy organising junior rider races and to be just a small part of the success of some of our more well known riders is really pleasing.”

In fact, a young Geraint Thomas was the victor in one of the very early editions of the Cadence Road Race – another annual Landon mastermind – which serves as the opening round of the British Cycling National Junior Road Race Series which sees 100 junior riders aged 16-18 compete on open roads.

In 2016 alone, Chris has yet again been at the helm of a number of prestigious races including the Cadence Road Race and the Ras de Cymru (which is aimed at club level cyclists and is the longest stage race in the UK with the exception of Tour of Britain and the British Cycling Junior Road Race Championships).

His reputation is now such that he is often called upon by British Cycling to organise events. He also serves on the board of Welsh Cycling as Vice Chair and enjoys a part-time position with British Cycling in which he undertakes risk assessments of courses and venues.

Humble and modest, it’s pretty obvious Chris is uncomfortable in the limelight – a position he would swap without hesitation to be in the background of the sport he loves:

“The best part of organising a race is when it’s all finished and you hear the riders talking about it – what they found difficult, what they enjoyed. After all, that’s what cycling is all about – the facing up to a physical and mental challenge.”

It’s clearly this love for his sport and the cycling community that continues to drive him year after year.


Fifteen heroes of grassroots sport in Wales have been selected to contest the Wales Sport Awards 2016.

They were shortlisted after being nominated for their outstanding contributions to community sport, following a nationwide search.

The winners will be revealed at the Wales Sport Awards ceremony at Hoddinott Hall in Cardiff Bay on Monday 5 December 2016, organised jointly by BBC Wales and Sport Wales.

The five community awards celebrate the essential and often unseen work of volunteers and coaches who keep sport thriving in every corner of Wales.

The finalists for 2016 are:

Volunteer of the Year

Delyth Jones – Swimming/Denbighshire

Chris Landon – Cycling/Cardiff

Debra Cavill – Gymnastics/Carmarthenshire

Young Volunteer of the Year

Megan Curling – Gymnastics/Bridgend

Joseph Jones – Multi-Sport/Conwy

Gwenan Williams – Multi-Sport/Anglesey

Community Coach of the Year

Mathew Lamb – Football/Pembrokeshire

Roddie Milne – Taekwondo/Denbighshire

Paul Crapper – Cycling/Monmouthshire

Young Coach of the Year

Ieuan Davies – Hockey/Cardiff

Jamie Evans – Gymnastics/Bridgend

Daniel Johnsey – Swimming/Monmouthshire

Coach to Disabled People

Bob Perry and Richard Plenty – Squash/Cardiff

Emily Griffiths – Swimming/Vale of Glamorgan

Deb Bashford – Wheelchair Basketball/Gwynedd


Dr Paul Thomas, Chair of Sport Wales, commented:

“The importance of these volunteers and coaches can’t be overestimated. They are the heartbeat of sport in Wales and they deserve our thanks and recognition for the work do in getting people hooked on sport.

“It is such a hard task picking out finalists and winners for the Awards but their stories will be an inspiration and motivation for others.”

Rhodri Talfan Davies, Director of BBC Wales, added:

“It’s great that these coaches are getting the recognition they clearly deserve. It’s fitting that they will share the spotlight with the stars of Welsh elite sport who wouldn’t have made it to the top without the  unseen efforts of volunteers and coaches, day in day out. I am sure it is going to be a fantastic night.”

For more information visit walessportawards.org.uk


More information on the finalists

Volunteer of the Year

Delyth Jones – Swimming/Denbighshire

Delyth stepped in to lead the Denbigh Dragons through troubled waters. Holding the title of team manager she arranges competitions and galas, collects fees, organises the coaching rotas, pool hire and more. She helped raise £5,000 for one local initiative as part of her fundraising drive.

Chris Landon – Cycling/Cardiff

As well as being vice-chair of Welsh Cycling, Chris Landon uses his wealth of expertise to run national events and support clubs and commissaires across the country. He even stepped in to volunteer to fill a full-time job during a recruitment gap.

Debra Cavill – Gymnastics/Carmarthenshire

Coach, committee member, fundraiser, compere and more, Debra even washes the leotards by hand in her ‘secret’ washing powder. Debra runs the recreational programme at Llanelli Gymnastics Club and welcomes hundreds of children per week to the club.

Young Volunteer of the Year

Megan Curling – Gymnastics/Bridgend

The gold young ambassador for Bridgend has been a successful leadership mentor to her peers in the local area as well as volunteer coaching at a trampolining club. A year focussed on promoting sport for girls included a pitch to sponsors in London.

Joseph Jones – Multi-Sport/Conwy

Joseph’s life has been turned around through sport and he volunteers at countless Conwy Youth Service physical activity sessions and events. He helps run football in the community and has promoted a health project in a local school. This all on top of being a carer.

Gwenan Williams – Multi-Sport/Anglesey

A tireless life in sport sees Gwenan run sessions at her secondary school, a multi-sport session for local primary school children and a girls’ football competition. She also runs sessions at a local special school, coaches at a netball club and is part of the Anglesey community chest panel.

Community Coach of the Year

Mathew Lamb – Football/Pembrokeshire

Mathew is ‘Mr Fishguard Sports’ and has overseen a massive increase in junior participation – coaching over 75 girls at training each week, as well as the junior disability team. To add to his large workload he has also taken on the role of treasurer and vice-chairman at the club. Over the last year he has played a major role in the development of the new football pitch and facilities for the club.

Roddie Milne

Just a few years after establishing Llangollen Taekwondo Club, Roddie Milne is inspiring a new generation of North Wales taekwondo athletes. In the last 18 months, his competitors have won 46 medals across regional, national and international events. Some of his stable are even looking to make the step up to a Great Britain level.

Paul Crapper – Cycling/Monmouthshire

Paul has set the standard for community coaching in Wales, he coaches and promotes cyclo-cross and women’s cycling in the Abergavenny area with regular coaching sessions to introduce and develop riders of all ages and abilities. In recognition of his work to develop women’s cycling he was shortlisted for the Women’s Sport Trust ‘Be A Game Changer’ Awards.

Young Coach of the Year

Ieuan Davies – Hockey/Cardiff

Part of the Welsh age-group coaching team, Ieuan was part of a series win in Switzerland and was one of the youngest national coaches at the UK School Games. In his club role, Ieaun has set up a successful junior programme at Cardiff and Met Hockey Club, leading the coaching set-up and organising fixtures for the youth levels.

Jamie Evans – Gymnastics/Bridgend

Head Coach at Pencoed Gymnastic Tumbling Club in Bridgend, he took over the leadership when the club was at risk of closure. Working successfully across elite and recreational participation, the not-for-profit club is thriving with 50 members, with many of the children coming from disadvantaged areas in the county.

Daniel Johnsey – Swimming/Monmouthshire

Daniel has been volunteering at Newport Seals disability swimming club as a 1:1 volunteer to help young people engage in swimming. A key achievement this year has been his work to lead on a transition project engaging young people from a small disability specific gym class into the mainstream fitness suite at Caldicot Leisure Centre.

Coach to Disabled People of the Year

Bob Perry and Richard Plenty – Squash/Cardiff

Richard and Bob were instrumental in Rhiwbina Squash Club being awarded insport gold by Disability Sport Wales for their commitment to inclusion – one of only two clubs in Wales to achieve gold. Their work, including ensuring wider doors on the squash courts to allow sports wheelchair access, has been recognised in the World Squash Newsletter.

Emily Griffiths – Swimming/Vale of Glamorgan

A successful year for swimming coach Emily has seen her double the membership at the South Wales Titans Swimming Club and be selected as Assistant Swimming Coach for GB at the Invictus Games.

Deb Bashford – Wheelchair Basketball/Gwynedd

Deb’s work has seen her support disabled people to play sport and build a structure for disability sport in North Wales. As well as coaching Wales wheelchair basketball squads, she has been responsible for the development of Caernarfon Celts Wheelchair Basketball Club as Secretary and Head Coach.


After the stars of Welsh sport celebrated success at the Euros and in Rio this summer, it is now the turn of Wales’ finest sporting volunteers to step into the limelight.

BBC Wales and Sport Wales are today (20 September 2016) inviting people to nominate the best grassroots coaches and volunteers for recognition at this year’s prestigious Wales Sport Awards.

The categories for nomination are:

  • Young Coach of the Year
  • Community Coach of the Year
  • Young Volunteer of the Year
  • Volunteer of the Year
  • Coach to Disabled People of the Year
  • Lifetime Achievement Award (Community)

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

Rhodri Talfan Davies, Director, BBC Wales said, “The nation has revelled in an unforgettable year of Welsh sporting success, and it’s absolutely right that our brilliant volunteers will share the same stage with our biggest stars at the Wales Sport Awards. We are asking everyone to take a moment to nominate someone who keeps Welsh sport ticking, so that we recognise the huge contribution of people who are volunteering their valuable time and expertise to nurture the next Gareth Bale, Jade Jones or Aled Davies.”

Dr Paul Thomas, Chair of Sport Wales added, “The community awards are so important because we know the grassroots are the very heart of people’s journey in sport.

“The footballers and the athletes we’ve supported this summer all started their journey somewhere and had a first taste of sport that got that hooked them into a love affair with sport.

“In every corner of Wales there is a coach or volunteer who is giving their own time to support and inspire people to enjoy sport and enjoy all the health, social and other benefits that come with it.

“Often these people don’t realise how important they are, which is why we need to recognise and celebrate their achievements.

“It takes a few minutes to nominate someone, which is nothing compared to the efforts being made by your local volunteer or coach.”

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

Nominations close at midday on Friday 30 September.

 The Wales Sport Awards will take place on Monday 5 December in Hoddinott Hall at Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff Bay.

The ceremony includes the presentation of the prestigious BBC Wales Sports Personality of the Year award, and also Coach of the Year.

For more information about the event, please go to www.walessportawards.co.uk



In recognition of an unprecedented year for Welsh sport, it has been confirmed today that the 2016 Wales Sport Awards will take place on December 5 in Hoddinott Hall at the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff.

Jointly run by BBC Wales and Sport Wales for the past three years, the ceremony recognises sporting success at both elite and grassroots levels.

Rhodri Talfan Davies, Director, BBC Wales said:

“What a momentous year it’s been for Welsh sport. I’m so proud we can come together once again to celebrate these huge sporting achievements, and mark the hard work and dedication that our brilliant ambassadors demonstrate on their journey to success in sport.

Dr Paul Thomas, Chair of Sport Wales added:

“Sport is the Welsh success story and it is important that we are able to tell the story of the people who drive that success at every level.

“All the star athletes we’ve seen this year started in a community club, supported by coaches and volunteers, which is why the Awards are so important.

“We have built up an excellent relationship with BBC Wales and together we can showcase the very best of Welsh sport at a time when we are seeing unparalleled success.”

Details of the nomination process will be announced shortly.


Wales rugby and Ospreys star Dan Biggar was named the BBC Wales Sports Personality of the Year for 2015 at the Wales Sport Awards this evening. Biggar, who had a stand-out Rugby World Cup and Six Nations season for Wales and another impressive season for the Ospreys was presented with the award by Nigel Owens at the Wales Sport Awards ceremony in Cardiff this evening (Monday, December 7).

And after a record-breaking year for Welsh football, the Wales Senior Mens Football Team took the Team of the Year accolade after qualifying for the finals of the UEFA European Championships in France next summer, and national coach Chris Coleman won the Coach of the Year Award.

In the BBC Wales Sports Personality of the Year Award Dan Biggar beat off the challenge of runner-up Geraint Thomas and third-placed Lee Selby.

Sport Wales and BBC Wales joined forces again to hold the country’s biggest annual sporting celebration at the Sport Wales National Centre in Cardiff.

Other outstanding achievements in Welsh sport were honoured at the event:

The winners were:

  • Team of the Year – Wales Senior Men’s Football Team
  • Lifetime Achievement (Elite) Award – Sir Gareth Edwards (Rugby Union)
  • Lifetime Achievement (Community) Award – Dorothy Neyland (Gymnastics, Swansea)
  • Volunteer of the Year – Wendy Pressdee (Netball, Swansea)
  • Young Volunteer of the Year – Elan Mon Gilford (Multi-Sport, Anglesey)
  • Young Coach of the Year – Lowri Haf Barker (Netball, Flintshire)
  • Carwyn James Junior Sportsman of the Year – Matt Story (Tennis, Cardiff)
  • Carwyn James Junior Sportswoman of the Year – Hannah Brier (Athletics, Swansea)
  • Coach to Disabled People – John Wilson (Visually Impaired Bowls, Swansea)
  • Unsung Hero – Jane Roberts and Nerys Ellis (Llanrwst Swimming Club, Conwy)
  • Community Coach of the Year – Angeline Tshiyane (Multi-Sport, Newport)

Referee Nigel Owens achievements were also marked with a special recognition celebrating his appointment to referee the 2015 Rugby World Cup Final.

Rugby Union legend Sir Gareth Edwards was given the Lifetime Achievement (Elite) award. Arguably the greatest ever rugby union player he was capped 53 times for Wales and won 10 British Lions caps.

The Lifetime Achievement (Community) honour was given to Swansea gymnastics stalwart Dorothy Neyland. She started a small gymnastics group in 1972 so her children could take part, and now, 40 years later, it is a thriving club where hundreds of youngsters train every week.

Netball administrator Wendy Pressdee picked up the Volunteer of the Year for work that includes giving over 30 hours a week to run leagues in Swansea, while the Young Volunteer of the Year went to Anglesey’s Elan Mon Gilford.

Mold Netball Club coach Lowri Haf Barker took the Young Coach of the Year prize after taking on the coaching role aged just 16 after her club coach was diagnosed with cancer.

The Carwyn James Sportsman of the Year prize was given to up-and-coming tennis player Matt Story from Cardiff while sprinter Hannah Brier from Swansea won the Carwyn James Sportswoman of the Year.

John Wilson, who has set up new clubs to cater for visually impaired bowlers, earned the crown of Coach to Disabled People.

Farmers Jane Roberts and Nerys Ellis of Llanrwst Swimming Club in Conwy have been volunteer coaching at the club for over 30 years, an achievement that earned them the BBC Wales Get Inspired Unsung Hero Award. They 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 Wales on Sunday, December 20.

To complete the list of winners, Angeline Tshiyane, driving sport amongst Newport’s BAME communities, won the Community Coach of the Year.

Chair of Sport Wales, Professor Laura McAllister said:

It’s been another year of high profile success for Welsh sport and the Wales Sport Awards has once again captured the inspiration and everyday sacrifices that makes sport in Wales so compelling.

At an elite and grassroots level sport is a shining light for Wales with our sport stars putting us on the world map and increases in participation in our communities that are the highest in a generation.

The achievements of sport in Wales are something that our nation holds with great pride. We must harness this feel-good factor so that generations of people in Wales are able to enjoy the same success in the future.

Rhodri Talfan Davies, Director, BBC Wales said:

“2015 has been another outstanding year in Welsh sport, and it’s a real thrill to showcase the enormous talent and quality across Welsh sport. These are extraordinary human stories, not just among our world class sportsmen and women but also across the network of inspirational people who make sport happen from administrators and officials to coaches and volunteers. This is a night to say thank you and to celebrate them all.”

The ceremony will be replayed in full on the BBC Red Button at 4.30pm and 11.20pm on Tuesday, December 8. BBC iPlayer viewing will be available for 30 days.

For more information visit: www.walessportawards.org.uk



DOTAfter more than 40 years of providing gymnastics opportunities for young people in Swansea, Dorothy Neyland MBE has been honoured with a commmuity lifetime achievement award at the Wales Sport Awards this evening (Monday, December 7).

Having seen Olga Korbut’s Olympic triumphs in 1972, Dorothy’s children wanted to take up gymnastics, so she started a small after school group called Gowerton Gymnastics Club all the time juggling this with looking after her six children and the running of a playgroup from her home.

Little did she know back then that her services to gymnastics and the community of Swansea would be so great that she would be awarded an MBE and a diploma from the International Olympic Committee.

The club, now called West Street Gymnastics – is still flourishing and due to celebrate its 40th anniversary in January. It soon outgrew Gowerton School in the mid-1980s and set up shop in a former bus garage. It boasts a large catchment area and its members compete at international level.

“I haven’t got a gymnastics background,” explains Dorothy, who lives in Gowerton. “But I’ve always been a sports fanatic. I was never interested in coaching or judging but I have always loved the administration and the running of a club. I do a bit of scoring too, mind you, it used to be different then. It was always with pen and paper and now it’s all on computers.”

At 81 years of age, Dorothy’s commitment to the club remains as unwavering as ever as she devotes 10 to 12 hours a week to the organisation of classes and competitions. She is also Secretary of the West area and organises national and regional competitions. She has only very recently stepped down as Membership Director of Welsh Gymnastics.

“I’m retired but volunteering really keeps me going. It keeps my mind active. I love the camaraderie and I’ve even been to America with the West Wales Academy. I love everything about it. If gymnastics disappeared from my life, it would leave such a massive hole.”

“It’s so rewarding to see the children rushing in and enjoying the sport. They won’t all become a high level gymnast, and we’ve had quite a few, but what matters is that they come in happy and they go home happy.”

Dorothy’s countless hours of volunteering, commitment and passion has provided thousands of children across Wales with the opportunity to participate in gymnastics.

She credits the support of her wonderful husband, Terry who passed away seven years ago:

“He let me do what I wanted. Plus I can’t stand housework! That’s got a lot to do with it! I decided very quickly that if I could get someone in to clean, I could run the playgroup and the gymnastics club so I was happy!”


The voting for BBC Wales Sports Personality of the Year 2015 opens today, Monday, November 30.

The eight contenders for the BBC Wales Sports Personality of the Year 2015 award are:

Wales and Real Madrid footballer GARETH BALE, whose goals helped take Wales to Euro 2016

Ospreys and Wales Rugby Union international DAN BIGGAR who had a stand-out Rugby World Cup and Six Nations

Discus and Shot Put Double World Champion and Record holder, Paralympian ALED SION DAVIES

European Games gold medallist and World Grand Prix winner, Taekwondo athlete JADE JONES

The new IBF World Featherweight Champion who also defended his title this year, boxer LEE SELBY

Back from injury to qualify for the 2016 Olympics, triathlete NON STANFORD

Classic winner and career-best Tour de France finisher, cyclist GERAINT THOMAS

Wales and Swansea City football captain ASHLEY WILLIAMS who led his country to next year’s European Finals.

Public voting, by phone and text, is open from Monday, November 30 at 8am until closing on Saturday, December 5 at 6pm. Simply visit bbc.co.uk/sportwales for full details on how to vote.

The winner will be announced at the Wales Sport Awards 2015 on Monday, December 7, at the Sport Wales National Centre in Cardiff. Wales Today on BBC One Wales, and BBC Radio Wales will have the result and reaction on the night.

The Awards ceremony will also be live on bbc.co.uk/sportwales and BBC iplayer from 8pm with reports on S4C’s Newyddion 9 and BBC Radio Cymru. The ceremony will then be available on the Red Button the following day.

The Wales Sport Awards 2015 event is a partnership between BBC Wales and Sport Wales bringing together a wide range of awards including the Sport Wales Coach of the Year and Team of the Year – and the BBC Wales Sports Personality of the Year award.

Full details can be found at www.walessportawards.co.uk


Wales Sport Awards 2014 08.12.14 ©Steve Pope -SPORTINGWALES

Wales Sport Awards 2014


Football, rowing and rugby union are represented as the 2015 Coach of the Year shortlist is revealed.

Chris Coleman, Robin Williams and Warren Gatland have been picked out for achievements in 2015, with one of the high performance coaches to be named Coach of the Year at Wales Sport Awards 2015.

Under manager Chris Coleman, Wales have become a dominant force in European football and entered the top 10 of the FIFA standings for the first time ever following a win over second world-ranked Belgium in June. Under his stewardship, the squad reached the final of a major championships for the first time since 1958 and will compete against the major nations of European football at France 2016.

2015 saw Robin Williams lead Heather Stanning and Helen Glover to a second World Championship gold medal in the women’s pair event, the culmination of a 4-year unbeaten run for Helen Glover including an Olympic gold and two world titles. Following this, Glover – who rose to the top of the female rowing world rankings – and Stanning were named as Female Crew of the Year by rowing’s governing body, FISA.

With a Rugby World Cup squad decimated by injuries, Warren Gatland masterminded an historic win against hosts England at Twickenham and steered Wales through the toughest group of the tournament. A try in the final minutes of their quarter final versus South Africa denied them a famous semi-final spot.

Professor Laura McAllister, Chair of Sport Wales commented:

“All teams and talented individuals need a high quality coach and support teams to guide them towards their goals, and the importance of coaching in elite sport is something that is always highlighted.”

“These are three very special coaches, championed within their sports, and they rightly deserve their place at the very pinacle of Welsh sporting excellence.”

“Comparing such top level achievements across different sports is always such a difficult task. Even outside of the three finalists we have a raft of coaches whose success in 2015 is a source of great pride for Welsh sport.”

Head of Sport at BBC Wales, Geoff Williams added:

“We’re delighted to have the opportunity of showcasing three outstanding coaches who have achieved so much this year. They can all be proud of their achievements.”

The Coach of the Year shortlist was decided by the Wales Sport Awards judging panel, a panel of sport experts including: Commonwealth Games gold medallist Frankie Jones; Chair Sport Wales, Laura McAllister; Paralympic Athlete Pippa Britton; Head of Sport, BBC Wales, Geoff Williams; Sport Journalist, Carolyn Hitt; Young Ambassador, Nia Weaver and Chair of UK Coaching Committee, Bev Smith.

The winner of the Coach of the Year will be announced at the Wales Sport Awards 2015 on Monday, December 7, at the Sport Wales National Centre in Cardiff.

For more information visit www.walessportawards.org.uk

Warren Gatland

Wales Sport Awards 2015 Robin Williams 20.10.15 ©Steve Pope - SPORTINGWALES

Wales Sport Awards 2015
Robin Williams

Wales Sport Awards 2015 Chris Coleman ©Steve Pope - SPORTINGWALES

Wales Sport Awards 2015
Chris Coleman


Strange as it may sound, St Patrick’s Day is an auspicious date in the history of Welsh women’s rugby. Back in 2007, on March 17, Ade Howell invited his sister’s English university team to Neath Port Talbot to play the mothers of the junior boys’ team he was coaching. The mothers didn’t look back and nor did Ade, who has been leading and developing the women’s club game ever since.

Since he was nine years old Ade has played rugby but he was struck by the inequality: “Women’s rugby was seen as an outside concept and I thought it was unfair that women didn’t get the same opportunities. Back then, women’s rugby was very much on the backburner and I was frustrated with the attitude that it was a dying sport, especially knowing how much my sister loved it.”

Ade went on to set up a women’s league group and structure which has allowed clubs across the country to shape and manage the way they want the leagues to run. It has certainly worked, in 2009 there were only 14 clubs, there are now 70 with more coming on board all the time.

Known as the Go To Guy, Ade dedicates over 35 hours a week to supporting the leagues and acting as the main contact point with Women’s Rugby.’Virtually every evening, he works his way through a barrage of emails, doing everything from coordinating the week’s results to offering indispensable advice to new team managers. He also handles all the administration including league rules, complaints, permits and travel expenses.

Ade plays down his efforts as minor and his response to this nomination was very telling: “When the BBC called I was about to go into a meeting so I arranged to speak to them later, I just thought they wanted help with something, probably contact details for a club. I was gob-smacked when they told me I was a finalist in the Wales Sport Awards.”

Yet it is Ade’s determination and hard work which have seen a 313% increase in the number of games played since 2010:

“We’re doing things right now. Women’s rugby is really booming, it is growing week by week. My passion is for giving girls more opportunities to play. Everyone can get involved, from those who just want to enjoy a game through to talented athletes with real potential to shine at international level.

Wales Sport Awards 2015 Ade Howells 18.11.15 ©Steve Pope - SPORTINGWALES

Wales Sport Awards 2015
Ade Howells

His motivation is simple: “Get them playing!”.


When Jan Davies talks about running her B&B and smallholding, you begin to wonder whether she has superhuman powers to make more hours in a day. Why? Because for the past 31 years, she has also dedicated herself to developing Men’s Artistic Gymnastics in Wales.

One of her sons, Gareth, showed particular interest in the sport at the age of eight – and so began Jan’s extensive voluntary career. She started coaching, devoting virtually every evening and weekend to cultivating local talent:

“It was hectic but I loved coaching the boys, it gave me such an enormous sense of satisfaction when they did well.”

She was also the driving force behind a successful Big Lottery Fund application, which led to the creation of the Wrexham Olympics Gymnastics Club, providing the community with first-class facilities and equipment.

Whilst Gareth’s early promise translated into an impressive sporting track record, including a hat-trick of appearances at the Commonwealth Games, Jan also took her skills to the next level as she became a qualified judge.

She now spends most weekends judging, with her busy itinerary taking her across the UK, Europe and sometimes even further afield. Over the past year alone she has given up her time to judge at more than 40 events, including the Island Games, Special Olympics, Disability, Regional and Local competitions.

She is the Primary Welsh Men’s Artistic judge for the Commonwealth Games and has been selected for many GB Internationals. She is also one of only two qualified Men’s Artistic Brevet judges within Wales.

Jan has invested her experience as a judge back into the sport. At training camps across the country, she spends hours helping gymnasts hone their routines, ensuring they are technically correct and capable of achieving the best scores. She also plays a vital role in the Judge Development Programme that Welsh Gymnastics launched to encourage and develop new judges within Wales. Through Jan’s dedication and passion the pool of judges has increased by 138%.

“Through judging I have been able to see young talent develop over time, I was watching Louis Smith and Brinn Bevan back when they were only eight years old!”

She offers this advice to anyone thinking of volunteering in sport: “Just go for it! You will get so much out of it. It’s not just the sport but also the friends you make and the chance to meet like-minded people from across the world.”

Wales Sport Awards 2015 Jan Davies 21.10.15 ©Steve Pope - SPORTINGWALES

Wales Sport Awards 2015
Jan Davies