Thursday, December 29, 2011

Came so often. Again and again. New. Coming. New. Coming and again new and again coming. Old newcomers.

Friday, December 23, 2011

2011 Sport Review - What a Year!

Happy New Year! Blwyddyn Newydd Dda!

As we usher in 2012 – and the biggest, most exciting, sporting event to be staged on home turf for generations – we wave a fond farewell to one of the most memorable years in Welsh sport for some considerable time.

2011 was a landslide year for sport in Wales. We had some incredible highs; with a plethora of World Champions, medal winners and outstanding team performances. And some poignant lows; with the tragic passing of national football manager, Gary Speed, and falling agonisingly short of a place in the Rugby World Cup final.

So without further ado, let’s take a nostalgic jog down memory lane to relive some of the standout moments of the sporting calendar. If this doesn’t make you proud to be Welsh then nothing will!


Nathan Stephens, strikes gold for GB at the Paralympic Athletics World Championships in New Zealand. The 23-year-old threw a lifetime best of 39.11m for victory.

Chief Executive of Disability Sport Wales, Jon Morgan, singled out the performances of all the Welsh athletes – excelling as Nathan did – at the World and Euro International Paralympic Committee (IPC) events to gather 94 medals in total, as his sporting highlight.


Jade Jones, from Flint, wins a silver medal at the Taekwondo World Championships in Gyeongju, South Korea. The 18-year-old had double cause for celebration when her -57kg weight division was later chosen for the London 2012 Olympics. One to watch!

Swansea City, become the first Welsh side to reach the Premier League when they beat Reading 4-2 at Wembley in the Championship play-off final - just eight years after nearly dropping out of the Football League. Partisan Swans fans working for Sport Wales gave this 10% of the share of votes in our own poll.

Geraint Thomas, cruises to his first major professional win at the Tour of Bavaria and then went on to secure three top-10 stage finishes in his third Tour de France, where he wore the white jersey for best young rider for several stages.


Steve Thomas, and his GBR Sonar crew mates, sailed a course for a silver medal at the IFDS Disabled Sailing World Championships at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy. Steve, 34, from Bridgend, narrowly missed out on gold due to a controversial points ruling but will be aiming to go one better at the London 2012 Paralympics, where he has already secured a qualifying berth.


Nathan Stephens, breaks the F57 javelin world record with a throw of 41.37 metres to win the Czech Athletics Open in Olomouc. The Paralympic thrower, from Bridgend, threw over 40 metres for the first time, just three weeks after scoring his previous best of 39.80m. Five percent of our Sport Wales staff voted Nathan’s successes as their highlight of 2011.


Dai Greene, the 25-year-old scorches home for Britain's first gold of the World Championships in Daegu, South Korea in a time of 48.26 seconds, adding the world crown to his European and Commonwealth titles. Our loyal Facebook followers emphatically voted Dai’s achievement as their top sporting highlight of the year with 67% of the votes in our online poll. Dai’s stunning victory also came out joint top amongst Sport Wales staff, taking a quarter of all votes in our Yammer poll.

Helen Jenkins, the British triathlete wins her second World Triathlon Championship after a consistently high flying season in one of the most gruelling sports on earth. Helen’s triumph received strong support from Sport Wales staff, ranking third most memorable sporting achievement with 20% of the votes.

Wales’ Commonwealth Youth Games team, finish fifth in the medal table, bringing back 26 medals from the Isle of Man. There were outstanding performances across the entire team but special mentions must go to swimmer Ieuan Lloyd who dominated the pool (with three golds, a silver and a bronze) and gymnast Angel Romaeo who dazzled on the centre stage (with a gold, silver and bronze). Team Wales’ achievements landed 10% of Sport Wales staff votes for most memorable sporting highlights. 

Tom James, Coedpoeth’s Olympic gold medallist, picks up his first world title by helping the men’s four to clinch gold in Bled, Slovenia at the World Rowing Championships. Fellow Wrexham rowers Victoria Thornley and Chris Bartley also picked up bronze medals in the women’s eights and lightweight men’s four.

Mark Colbourne, wins a silver medal in the time trial event at the Paracycling Road World Championships in Denmark. It was his debut at this level, racing for GB, after breaking his back in a paragliding accident just two years earlier.


Nathan Cleverly, defends his WBO light-heavyweight crown and maintains his unblemished professional record, by beating British and Commonwealth champion Tony Bellew at the Liverpool Echo Arena. Flyweight Andrew Selby and welterweight Fred Evans also deserve special mentions for picking up European Championship golds (plus silver for Selby at the World Amateur Championships) and qualification for London 2012.

Chaz Davies, the 24-year-old motorcyclist becomes the first Welshman to win a world Superbike class title when he took the 12-match series by storm. The Yamaha biker won six races in the 2011 Supersport Championship and became just the second Briton to win the title since its inception in 1997.

The Welsh Rugby team, dazzle down under with some electrifying running rugby that attracts many admirers. Playing arguably the best rugby of all the nations on show in New Zealand, a 14-man Wales were narrowly squeezed out of their pulsating semi-final match with France, losing 9-8 to Les Bleus. More than 60,000 fans packed out the Millennium Stadium to watch on the big screens as a dangerous tackle from captain, Sam Warburton, led to his controversial sending off followed by an epic fight back that alas was not enough to get us to the final to face the All Blacks.

For many though, including Hugh Lewis AM, the Minister for Housing, Regeneration and Heritage, Gatland’s men gifted us with one of the most memorable and uplifting sporting campaigns in recent memory.  Thirty three percent of our Facebook followers voted this their favourite sporting memory and Sport Wales staff ranked it joint top (along with Dai) in their estimations. 


The Wales national football side, end their international season on a high, beating Norway 4-1 to secure their third consecutive victory on the bounce - a feat not seen since 2008. That emphatic result capped four wins from their last five results. This rich seam of form, which saw Wales break into the top 50 FIFA ranked teams, made the untimely passing of national Manager, Gary Speed, all the more poignant.

Children’s Commissioner for Wales, Keith Towler, told us that the emergence of young talented players making an impact at international level was amongst his sporting highlights.


Chaz Davies, famously scoops the BBC Cymru Wales Sports Personality of the Year award. Chaz was applauded by the motorsport contingent at Sport Wales and there was a special mention to Mardy AFC for avoiding the drop in 2010-11 – both achievements made up the final 5% of Sport Wales votes.

A great year then but we’re hoping for even bigger things from 2012. Bring it on!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Mensch und Tür

Today I dreamed about a mixture between door and human beeing.
Maybe THE DOORS had dreams like this before they named their band?
But what should I learn from this dream?  Do I have to do a 400 page-graphic-novel about THE DOORS now? No...maybe I should just make a "DOORS- Advents - calendar" for next christmas!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

There are galleries with this certain light, that makes the pictures look good and the make-up and skin of the visitors look bad. Here are some ways to avoid on the next vernissage looking 100 years older than you are...

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Job Vacancy

We are looking for part timers who are at least 16, eager to learn and can work from 11am - 5pm on weekdays at least twice a week for a minimum period of 3 months.

If you are unable to fulfil the criteria of working from 11am - 5pm on weekdays, do not apply. We WILL NOT consider you for the job.

Interested applicants, please send in your resume with the following.
-Contact number
-Photo of yourself
-What you are currently doing. Studying/working etc
-Your CCA/after school activities
-What do you do in your free time.
-Working experience

Application date closes 25 Dec.
Put in subject heading: Part Time Work.
Anyone who does not have the correct subject heading will also not be considered for the job.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

SPOTY caused fierce (and healthy) debate

BBC Wales Sports Personality has always been a fantastic opportunity to celebrate and champion sport.

2011 BBC Cymru Wales Sports Personality of the Year

This year has been no different.

Chaz Davies

But both the Wales and the UK awards have raised eyebrows and stirred up fierce debate.

Comments, opinion and arguments have been flying around on Twitter, Facebook and Jason Mohammad has enjoyed lively debate on his BBC Radio Wales phone in programme.

Whether you think more women should be on the UK shortlist and whatever your view on the Wales result - it’s been made abundantly clear that people across the UK have a huge passion for sport.

The issue of media coverage for lower profile sports has been a strong theme. From Mike Fatkin arguing for “the crumbs from the main sports table” right here on this blog to WalesOnline’s rugby writer Delme Parfitt arguing:

“One of the media’s primary functions is to reflect the interest of the public, not to dictate it, and that’s the reason why minority sports remain what they are.

“To therefore argue that a newspaper, or any other media outlet, should suddenly ramp up its coverage of, say, netball, out of some paternalistic duty to cater to that sport’s enthusiasts, is illogical.”

Here we link to just some of the opinions aired over the last couple of weeks. Send us your thoughts – would you like to see more sports enjoying media coverage?

Finally, we’d like to congratulate all winners and finalists – as well as the other sportsmen and women, coaches and volunteers across Wales who all make sport happen week in, week out.

See BBC Wales 2011 Sports Personality of the Year in pictures

Friday, December 9, 2011

Eat, Sleep, Play, Tweet

These days many sports professionals’ comments and opinions are easily followed via many social media platforms, particularly Twitter.  Paul Shuttleworth, Head of Employment law and member of the Sports Law team at JCP Solicitors explains more:

The use of Twitter has seen many footballers fined by the FA for criticising referees as well as Kevin Petersen in trouble for questioning the methods of the selectors when dropping him from the England cricket team.

Recently Joey Barton (pre his transfer to Queens Park Rangers) fell foul of his then employers Newcastle United FC, over comments he made on his private twitter account. The Football League’s Chief Executive Richard Scudamore has recently commented “the whole Twitter thing is interesting; I encourage Twitter with a caveat that players realise that they are talking into a microphone”

Barton’s case is an interesting one as he is a prolific  “tweeter” and for a footballer who has over the years attracted more than his fair share of adverse publicity, he has a huge following (over 517,000 followers), his tweets themselves are not standard footballer fare either and he regularly delves into psychology in the content of his tweets.

Alan Pardew commented “If you criticise the owner, the masseur, a player, anyone at the Club in fact, it’s in breach of Contract”. He added “we have notified the players, they probably see it as another sort of dictatorial moment from us.  We have had to issue them legally with a letter to say this is not right, it is a breach of Contract and they have to understand that they are going to be fined and disciplined for it.”

He pointed out “the problem with Twitter, we need to get hold of this.  We have got nothing from the Premier League on how to deal with this.”

This indeed is an interesting comment given that some of the higher profile players on Twitter (Rio Ferdinand for example) have hundreds of thousands of followers and therefore once these thoughts are committed to print and the “Tweet” button is pressed they are broadcast instantly to huge numbers of followers.

The use of social media tools such as Facebook or Twitter presents commercial and marketing opportunities for sports businesses and high profile individuals, but these opportunities also come with a potential downside, if the information which is being blogged, tweeted or released on these forums is damaging to the reputations of others. It is a new hazard that sporting organisations are facing in the 21st Century.

Clearly it is imperative that clubs and organisations now have in place a coherent, robust and manageable Social Media Policy.

For more information please contact Paul Shuttleworth on  or 01792 529636 or follow him on Twitter @employment_sol

Thursday, December 8, 2011

tattooed balls

A friend once told me, that getting tattooed aches as much as to epilate oneself. Tatooed people normally show off the pain they had to suffer. Whereas seldom a woman is asked whether it ached a lot to epilate her legs. And also there are parts of the body who can ache much more when epilated... I think, that I'm not exaggerating when I'm saying, that Brazilian Waxing aches as much as getting one's balls tattooed! There must be an end to the silent suffering of women! ....but how?... maybe like that?... "Yes, it aches! - Brazilian Waxing"

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Sporting Steve Is In Good Company

Young sports coach Steve Thomas has had a whirlwind few weeks with his work being showcased alongside people like athletics great Malcolm Arnold and cricket guru Andy Flower.

The 22 year-old from Holywell is Wales's first and only london 2012 Platimum Young Ambassador and, thanks to him, more than 6,000 Flintshire youngsters took part in sport during school holidays this year alone. 

Here, Steve describes what he's been up to.

I was overwhelmed at being nominated and short listed for Sport Wales Coach of the Year awards. I saw it as an outstanding achievement and recognition for my work as a Young Ambassador and Dragon Sport Coordinator at Sport Flintshire. Balancing my volunteering/coaching roles whilst studying full time at University has been challenging over the past few years, but when you are rewarded and recognised by your peers at a prestigious event such as this, it makes all that dedication and hard work worthwhile.

I was delighted to share the experience of the awards ceremony with my parents, fellow YA finalists Jamie and Ainsley and, the man responsible for presenting me with such great opportunities, Richard Dando. To be in the company of such great coaches who share the same passion for sport was incredible, whilst the standard of all finalists demonstrated the quality of coaching being delivered across Wales.

Being announced as the winner on stage was an amazing feeling and an experience I will never forget. I felt a sense of pride and the award was for all of those people who have supported me along the way – my family, friends and the staff at Sport Wales, Deeside College, Sport Flintshire, Glyndwr University - the list goes on!

After winning the Sport Wales’ award I was put through to the Sports Coach UK awards, which were held at the Jumeirah Hotel in London. Within minutes of arriving at the venue I had shaken hands with Colin Jackson, Andy Flower and Sir Geoff Hurst and said hello to Terry Venables and Teddy Sheringham! Amazing. After being introduced to various people and doing a bit of networking, we made our way in to the dining room and clapped as HRH Princess Anne, patron of Sports Coach UK, made her way on stage.

After dinner it was time for the announcements of the winner for UK ‘Young Coach of the Year’, but unfortunately this time I just missed out. Nevertheless, I was so proud to have made it that far and to have met some truly inspirational people along the way. If someone had said to me a year ago I would be nominated, shortlisted or win any award at any level I would not have believed it.

Thankfully though the fun doesn’t stop here. The next awards night I will be attending is the BBC Wales’ Sport Personality of the Year and another opportunity to meet some of the best sporting talent our great country has to offer.

As a final note, I would like to thank all the staff at Sport Wales for their great support this year and congratulate all of the sports coaches and volunteers who are actively making a difference in schools, clubs and communities in uniting Wales as a proud sporting nation.

Find out more about the Sport Wales Coach of the Year Awards:

Friday, December 2, 2011

Guest Blog: Mike Fatkin gets angry about women's sport

Guest Blog: Mike Fatkin gets angry about women's sport

Earlier this week I found myself becoming increasingly angry on the subject of women’s sport. Strange thing to say, a bloke having previously spent 23 years in a male professional sports environment, but the lack of any women on the BBC Sports Personality of the Year shortlist was the catalyst. And it really riled me.

It’s not so much the names on the list that annoyed me. It’s a strong one, including Wales’s own Dai Greene. But the process – seemingly random newspapers and magazines across the UK picking their ten – was so scattergun.  Yes, that process has been used for five years, and produced a female winner in Zara Phillips in 2006, but that’s not the point. You may as well ask a load of people in different pubs.  Indeed the presence of Zoo and Nuts on that list meant they probably were. Where were the women journalists? Do they get a say?  And how come the Manchester Evening News can nominate three foreigners (Toure, Berbatov and Vieira) and seven Lancastrians and everyone thinks it’s funny? If it is, then the award deserves joke status. Come on, BBC. High time for a review.

What about Keri-Anne Payne? Or Chrissie Wellington? Kath Grainger? Becky Adlington? And how on earth did the Western Mail, of all newspapers, opt for Alistair Brownlee (Triathlon World Champion, Male) ahead of Helen Jenkins (Triathlon World Champion, Female)? Toss of a coin? My own nomination would have been for Sarah Stevenson: she lost both parents to cancer this year yet still, somehow, found the courage and reserves to become world taekwondo champion.  More deserving than many.

But then again, this is a personality contest based on the major sports, isn’t it?  There are viewers to pander to.  There is also footage to show.  Hence Andy Murray’s inclusion probably.

And therein lies the issue that makes me the angriest.  Why are the media so reluctant to move away from their male sport ‘staples’?  The Media Wales chap on the Radio Wales phone in I was on the other day was wholly unapologetic about promoting an endless diet of football, rugby union, cricket and racing, interwoven with the occasional moment in the sun for a handful of other sports.  “You’re on Sky occasionally,” he said. “What more do you want?  Excuse me for asking. Mind you, throwing your weight around like that isn’t clever: it’s just pathetically nineteenth century. He wouldn’t last thirty seconds in a proper netball match.

Many newspaper circulations are falling. So what’s the risk in throwing in a few stories off the mainstream? You never know. People might even read them. Until then, the line “no one’s ever heard of them”, also used this week in response to some of the female world champions, will be allowed to stand. Put them out there. Promote them. Give the younger girls dropping out of sport some more role models to follow.

As for netball, where I’ve been involved for two years now, England just beat those established heavyweights of the sport – New Zealand and Australia – to win a world title last weekend.  To the Western Mail and others it may as well have been a competition between Martians in Scrabble played a thousand fathoms under the deepest ocean. 

Netball has some magnificent role models. Without the promotion they’ll continue to do sterling work for their sport, and for which they, like so many others, are paid nothing. But it would be so much easier with media support. Just a few crumbs from the main sports’ table.

I suppose that, if nothing else, the haphazard nominating process for this award has highlighted the issue. But it doesn’t make it any the less of a crusade for those of us involved in women’s and girls’ sport.

Sarah's Kenya Blog - Day 5


Day 5 started at the very unsocial hour of 05:15am! However, the extended day was well worth it as we got the chance to see some wild game. AMAZING!
But it was soon back to class, and I was first up with an “engaging the wider community session” to help delegates identify who else they had in their communities they might be able to work in partnership with. The delegates responded to the session well and it generated an interesting discussion about working with the police; as in general, the police and communities couldn’t be further apart in Kenya! I did also share how Torfaen have engaged with the police for Dragon Sport and how their programme has developed over the years!
Sessions that followed highlighted how the Welsh Football Trust engage with the wider community and how the Urdd have developed sports leadership and volunteer recruitment. It was then back to me to share our Young Ambassador programme and discuss how they could possibly implement their own programme for youth engagement (especially as it appears to be on the agenda for all of the Ministry’s that we have spoken to-which I will follow up on).
After lunch, Aled Lewis from the Urdd and I jointly delivered a session to get the delegates to start to think about what they were going to do once the course was over and they were back in their communities. What was really valuable here is that we grouped together those that were from the same communities to chat about their plan once back with the community, but it also allowed for some area/regional planning to take place too – just what was wished for as an outcome of the project.
The two gentlemen from the Ministry of Justice said they had generated lots of ideas from the course that they would like to put into action to assist national cohesion. The opportunity arose later in the evening for me to catch up with their boss to highlight their vision, passion and enthusiasm and to point out that he’s the man that needs to allow them to carry it out!! I also pointed out that I had met with two other Ministries (Youth and Sport & Cohesion) and that they all had the same outcome but were trying to tackle it separately and should be working closer together to plan at a national level jJust like these citizens were at a local level!) I really do hope that during the week I have been able to make a difference.
The course had now sadly ended and it was back to the hotel for check out followed by a farewell and celebratory gathering at the British Council Offices with the delegates again.
They were very grateful for the resources from Sport Wales (A bag which I filled with - Dragon Sport Handbook, DS Toolkit, DS volunteer log book plus one of our little vision booklets so that they could assist their own communities in developing a shared vision for sport.
As gifts I gave various delegates that had made an impression on me a set of the Dragon Sport cards – and promised all of them that I would try to get the football cards posted to all of them.
I had also bought 6 whistles on a Welsh lanyard for the 6 females that attended the course, as engaging females in sport is a real challenge in Kenya – so go the girls.
As I sit on the plane typing this now I am thinking about what the outcomes of this few days has brought, and have I really helped to make a difference to Kenya’s vision for community cohesion? The answer is yes! I really do feel that I have assisted in Kenya’s vision for community cohesion and here is my evidence:
1.       The week brought together citizens from across 10 of the communities in Kenya. The citizens up until now had been working predominantly on their own within their communities, but as a result of being together this week they told us today that they themselves had decided to set up a National Steering Group called “Kenya Cardiff Sports Network“ to help continue this work, and one of the delegates had already been voted in by the others as Chairperson! He is now going to write their constitution and may come back to me for some further help and support.
2.       One of the delegates also recognised (during the Dragon Sport session – when he didn’t understand netball….) that he had neglected the girls in his community – so his action plan was to now go back and make sure that he works to set up activities for the girls.
3.       Linked to the above point: Two delegates are from different communities but sit within the same region so, from now on, rather than plan and deliver just in their own communities – they are going to work together on joint planning and activities.
4.      The Meeting with the Ministry for Youth and Sport and the Kenyan Football Federation and how they agreed they will now go forward together with joint discussion and planning and will also look to integrate the Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Education in discussions too for some real joined up thinking rather than trying to do it in isolation.

Thank you British Council for setting up the Active Citizens Project and inviting Sport Wales to be a part of something so worthwhile and changing.
I know my connections with Kenya will continue!!!!..........

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Sport Wales Advent Calendar!

The Sport Wales Advent Calendar!

This is an advent calendar with a difference; one that will feed the mind rather than the stomach this Christmas!

We'll provide you with lesser known facts about Welsh athletes, one for each day of December (Well, that is until the 23rd as Sport Wales will be on our Xmas holidays!) culminating in a quiz to test how much attention you've been paying!

Day 22

Did you know that between now and the 2012 Paralympic Games, table tennis star Sara Head will hit approximately 663,000 balls?

Day 21

Did you know that hockey star Sarah Thomas recently starred in an advert for Cadbury’s, which also featured lots of her family and friends?

Day 20

Did you know that sprinter Christian Malcolm was encouraged to take up running by his school teacher, whose husband turned out to be Olympic long jumper Lynn Davies?

Day 19

Did you know that wheelchair basketball player, Claire Strange, broke her back in a horse riding accident and a year later was playing for GB at the World Championships in Sydney?

Day 18

Did you know that Commonwealth Games silver medallist and GB number one, Frankie Jones, left home at just 16 to pursue her rhythmic gymnastics dream?

Day 17

Did you know that wheelchair rugby player David Anthony is also a coach to disabled football in Neath Port Talbot?

Day 16

Did you know David Roberts only took up swimming to help with his physiotherapy? He’s gone on to win 11 Paralympic gold medals!

Day 15

Did you know that gymnast and Olympic hopeful Lizzie Beddoe spends 35 hours of her week in training; on top of her school work?!

Day 14

Did you know that just ten days after undergoing major surgery, Paralympic archer Pippa Britton, lifted silver at a European Grand Prix?

Day 13

Did you know that World Champion triathlete Helen Jenkins married her coach Marc at Disney World in Orlando?

Day 12

Did you know that up and coming discus star Brett Morse is joint coach/manager of Penarth Town U11s football team?

Day 11

Did you know that Taekwondo star Jade Jones received the nickname ‘The Headhunter’ for always kicking opponents in the head during training?!

Day 10

Did you know that World Championship silver medallist, Andrew Selby, had to box friend and training partner Khalid Yafai to secure his place at the London 2012 Olympic Games?

Day 9

Did you know that Mark Colbourne is stamping his authority on the world of Para Cycling. It was only in 2009 that he broke his back in a Paragliding accident at Rhossili beach.

Day 8

Did you know that cyclist Nicole Cooke became the first woman to become the road race World Champion and Olympic gold medallist in the same year?

Day 7
Did you know that Olympic gold medal-winning rower, Tom James, only took up the sport after he was forced to give up running due to a knee injury?

Day 6

Did you know that Aled Sion Davies used to be a life saver before becoming a World class discus star?

Day 5


Did you know that World Champion and Commonwealth gold medallist Dai Greene once scored a goal against Real Madrid youth team when playing for Swansea City youth?

Day 4

Did you know that two Welsh sailors have already been selected for London 2012; Hannah Mills is set to make her Olympic debut and Steve Thomas is set to make his third Paralympic appearance.

Day 3

Did you know that Olympic gold medallist Geraint Thomas has ridden over 20,000 miles already this year; that’s nearly a round-the-world the trip!

 Day 2

Did you know that World Champion javelin thrower Nathan Stephens competed at the 2006 Winter Paralympic Games as part of the GB sledge hockey team?

Day 1

Did you know that Commonwealth Games silver and bronze medallist Jazz Carlin, swims 37.2 miles a week; more or less Cardiff to Swansea!