Sport Wales and BBC Cymru Wales have unveiled a short-list of local heroes of grassroots sport in Wales for 2015.

After searching the length and breadth of Wales, the finalists for Wales Sport Awards 2015 have been picked out by an expert panel of judges.

These are the people often in the background but help ensure that community sport in Wales is thriving.

The finalists will come together on December 7 at the Sport Wales National Centre in Cardiff to recognise the very best of elite and grassroots sport in Wales.

The Wales Sport Awards is a partnership between Sport Wales and BBC Wales to create the country’s biggest annual sporting celebration.

The community coaching and volunteering finalists:

Volunteer of the Year

Ade Howells – Rugby, Neath Port Talbot

Jan Davies – Gymnastics, Wrexham

Wendy Pressdee – Netball, Swansea
Community Coach of the Year

Nikki Upton – Hockey, Caerphilly

Samantha O’Callaghan – Netball, Blaenau Gwent

Angeline Tshiyane – Multi-Sport, Newport
Young Coach of the Year

Jordan Rosser – Golf, Rhondda Cynon Taf

Greg Price – Table Tennis, Blaenau Gwent

Lowri Haf Barker – Netball, Flintshire
Young Volunteer of the Year

Robert Cunnah – Denbighshire, Multi-Sport

Jonathan Williams – Merthyr, Multi-Sport

Elan Mon Gilford – Anglesey, Multi-Sport

Coach to Disabled People of the Year

Caroline Matthews – Cardiff, Wheelchair Basketball

John Wilson – Swansea, Visually Impaired Bowls

Gwilym Lewis – Carmarthenshire, Rugby
Professor Laura McAllister, Chair of Sport Wales commented:

At a time when sport is being embraced by our nation like never before, these are the individuals who are the very heartbeat of what is being achieved.

Community sport needs enjoyable experiences and opportunities to inspire more people to take part. These are the coaches and volunteers who are leading the way in getting more people in Wales hooked on sport.

Choosing the finalists was such a difficult task but reading their stories goes to prove that they deserve their time in the spotlight.
Head of Sport at BBC Cymru Wales, Geoff Williams said:

Each finalist has a hugely inspirational story to share. Nurturing the next generation of sporting talent, as well as providing support for those who enjoy sport as part of their daily lives, is key to maintaining Wales’ status as a world class sporting nation.

Once again, the Wales Sport Awards is a moment when both elite and grassroots athletes from a wide range of disciplines can come together to celebrate their success.

For more information visit www.walessportawards.org.uk

Ends

More details and pictures of the finalists will be released before the ceremony.

More information on the finalists

Volunteer of the Year

Ade Howells – Rugby, Neath Port Talbot

Ade has been instrumental in driving forward a new structure for the women’s game in Wales. Taking a lead on organising and administration there has been a 313% increase in number of games played since 2010.

Jan Davies – Gymnastics, Wrexham

Jan was a vital part of the Judge Development Programme that Welsh Gymnastics launched to encourage and develop new judges within Wales. Through Jan’s dedication and passion she increased the pool of judges by 138% this cycle.

Wendy Pressdee – Netball, Swansea

Wendy commits over 30 hours per week, sometimes considerably more, to the sport of netball. She spends three nights a week leading the West Glamorgan Netball League – co-ordinating fixtures, results, accreditations and players.

Community Coach of the Year

Nikki Upton – Hockey, Caerphilly

Nikki Upton has created a new junior section at Risca Ladies Senior Hockey Club, providing a pathway from junior to senior hockey.

Samantha O’Callaghan – Netball, Blaenau Gwent

Samantha has integrated the junior and senior sections at Ebbw Vale Netball Club. They previously ran as two separate clubs, but the integration has stemmed the drop off of junior members and increased the overall membership at the club by 38%.

Angeline Tshiyane – Multi-Sport, Newport

Angeline’s main achievement has been establishing a variety of Black and Minority Ethnic sporting groups with young people, particularly with new swimming and physical activity sessions.

Young Coach of the Year

Jordan Rosser – Golf, Rhondda Cynon Taf

Jordan is a member of the Golf Development Wales Youth Panel and is helping to shape the future of Junior Welsh Golf. He has volunteered and assisted in coaching for over 200 young people this year.

Greg Price – Table Tennis, Blaenau Gwent

Greg’s multi-talented sporting ability has seen the demand for his services stretch right across Blaenau Gwent and into Merthyr. Overall, he has engaged with over 500 young people in various sports, and has helped to set up Ebbw Vale Badminton Club, where he continues to coach.
Lowri Haf Barker – Netball, Flintshire

Despite Lowri’s young age and the fact that she is currently studying full-time, she volunteers a huge amount of her time to coaching and running Mold Netball Club junior section. She has increased the age range for coaching and now coaches netballers from aged 8 to 15 and helps their transition to adult netball at age 16.

Young Volunteer of the Year

Robert Cunnah – Denbighshire, Multi-Sport

Robert completed his Millennium Volunteers 200 hour certificate this year but has actually completed over 450 volunteer hours. He has gained his football leaders qualification, sport leaders level two award and football referee award. As a result he was awarded the Sports Leaders UK President’s Cup in 2015.

Jonathan Williams – Merthyr, Multi-Sport

Jon has been a key part of the disability sport programme in Merthyr over the last 12 months and assisted in the delivery of a school Paralympic Road Show which has so far seen over 500 pupils experiencing disability sport.

Elan Mon Gilford – Anglesey, Multi-Sport

Elan has completed well over 400 voluntary hours which has benefited young people in primary and secondary schools as well as communities all across Anglesey. Her outstanding work has inspired others to take part in sport and ensure a fitter and healthier lifestyle which benefits people for life.

Coach to Disabled People of the Year

Caroline Matthews – Cardiff, Wheelchair Basketball

At club level she has led Cardiff Celts to the British Wheelchair Basketball National Division 2 title, with the club going the whole season unbeaten to gain promotion to Division 1.

John Wilson – Swansea, Visually Impaired Bowls

John has worked with a wide variety of clubs to raise awareness of VI bowls and the need to be inclusive. He organises demonstrations of VI bowls to dispel misconceptions and start conversations on setting up new clubs. John set up a new club in Ammanford and 20 players have already begun to play.

Gwilym Lewis – Carmarthenshire, Rugby

Gwilym is coach of a unified/mixed ability rugby team the Llanelli Warriors RFC. The club actively look to include players with learning difficulties to play alongside and against players without disabilities. In what is regarded as one of the most physical contact sports, Gwilym has helped pioneer ways to let players with disabilities get involved.