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: http://www.sportwales.org.uk/coachoftheyear