Thursday, July 19, 2012

From spotlight to torchlight

Among the impressive winners at the 2011 Sport Wales Coach of the Year Awards was Young Coach/Volunteer of the Year Steve Thomas from Flintshire.

The Glynd┼Ár University graduate, and Platinum Young Ambassador, from Holywell, was Wales’ first Young Ambassador – a movement that aims to empower young people to become role models through sport, using the Olympic and Paralympic values to inspire others.

He was appointed Chair of Wales' Young Ambassador Steering Group and was nominated to be a Torchbearer ahead of the London 2012 games.

Thanks to him more than 6,000 Flintshire youngsters took part in sport during school holidays this year alone and his Olympic torch project is firing up children across all 88 schools in the county.

It was a huge honour to be nominated. To be recognised in this way was a huge reward for the work that I do in trying to get more children in schools, clubs and communities physically active and hooked on sport.

The Coaching Awards is a prestigious event and eclipsed everything I expected it to be. The awards recognise the achievements of people coaching in different sports and all levels of the coaching pathway from grassroots right through to elite. All of these coaches have a positive impact and make a significant difference to sport whether it be at local, regional or international level.

Coaches are pivotal to sport in Wales - they are the workforce that help organise, deliver and enable sports participation right across the country. They deserve to be celebrated because of the time, effort and commitment they put in to improving peoples sporting lives, which often goes unnoticed.

Coaches and volunteers don’t get the appreciation they deserve - they turn up in all weathers, they wash the kit, they organise fixtures, they coach sessions, they do all of the admin work - the list goes on! If they were to disappear tomorrow - where would that leave sport in Wales? When you think about that question - it makes you realise their importance to sport in our country.
If someone is making a positive difference to sport in your local area then I encourage you to nominate them. It is an opportunity to give them their 'moment to shine' in reward and recognition for all the hard work they put in.

For more information and to nominate someone for the 2012 awards visit