Full Story from the weekend's Welsh Athletics Conference & Awards Weekend #Inspiredby2017 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Nathan Jones   
Sunday, 22 October 2017 16:55

FULL WEEKEND REPORT FROM NEWPORT / ADRODDIAD LLAWN Y PENWYTHNOS O GASNEWYDD: Athletics Stars & Volunteers join to celebrate & recognise in annual awards...

The Coldra Court Hotel in Newport, near the Celtic Manor was set up for an action-packed weekend of events as far as athletics was concerned on October 21st and 22nd with a triple header of activities for everyone in the space of 36 hours.

As well as the Welsh Athletics Clubs Conference & Coaching Conference, the Saturday evening (21st October) saw the Welsh Athletics National Awards evening take place at the hotel, following its staging at the Hilton in Cardiff last year.



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A total of 6 categories and 30 different awards was presented on the evening attended by a large crowd of nearly 200, whether recipients, family, friends or special guests. Those in attendance were from all over the country - from Pembroke to Newport and up North in Wrexham.

Club: Track & Field Club of the Year, Off Track Club of the Year, Junior Track & Field Club of the Year, Junior Off Track Club of the Year, Inclusivity Club of the Year, Development Club of the Year

Volunteer: Volunteer of the Year, Services to Club Development

Officials: Newcomer to Officiating, Young Official of the Year, Off Track Official of the Year, Track & Field Official of the Year

Coaches: Performance Coach - Track & Field, Performance Coach - Off Track, Participation / Development Coach - Track & Field, Participation / Development Coach - Off Track

Run Wales: Run Leader of the Year, Group of the Year

Athletes: Senior Male, Senior Female, Junior Male, Junior Female for Track & Field and Off Track



There were over 300 nominations received across all categories in time of the closing date at the beginning of September; with this open to anyone from across the sport to nominate. It was then down to the panel to make the difficult decisions of cutting down numbers and confirming winners. The #Inspiredby2017 awards looked to recognise clubs, groups, coaches and athletes as well as volunteers from across the country for their contributions in supporting the development of athletics in Wales.

Following the drinks reception and welcome, the presentation of awards was presented between food course, an ideal opportunity for everyone to get together to meet and share their experiences and achievements amongst others.

The 2017 edition of the Welsh Athletics Awards Dinner was hosted by Rob Cole & Matt Elias, Welsh Athletics' National Performance Centre Coach who kept the crowd entertained. A minute's silence was observed by guests for the late John Collins, who sadly passed away in June this year and contributed to so much here in Wales, West Wales & Swansea Harriers.

Carol Anthony, the Chair of Welsh Athletics welcomed everyone to the Coldra Court Hotel in Newport. The evening began with a special award made to one of the Harriers middle distance coaches, Steve Perks. He picked up the award of honour, the highest service award available to Welsh Athletics. He spoke about his experiences at Athens back in 2004 and looked forward to the next one. Head of Coaching and Performance at Welsh Athletics, Scott Simpson was one of the first to address the crowd.

Next up was James Thie and athlete Ieuan Thomas. Following his debut at the World Athletics Championships in London during the summer, he reflected on his first experience of competition at the very top and looked forward to what the future brings.



Cole & Elias were joined up on stage after the main course by the Head of Operations at Welsh Athletics James Williams, Chief Executive Matt Newman & Sioned Jones Run Wales Manager. Williams commented that the sport in Wales is going from strength to strength and confirmed that around 300 different events are held in Wales during the year. Newman reminded all about the great success of the Cardiff University/Cardiff Half Marathon that took place in the Welsh Capital on Sunday 1st October, and thanked all those who contribute towards a great event including Steve Brace, Alex Donald & Graham Finlayson. Sioned Jones mentioned how Run Wales has moved on, with plenty of opportunities and clubs for people to get out running.

Towards the end of the presentations, the athletes themselves got the chance to say a few words. First up was Sarah Omoregie who reflected on her and the team's recent visit to the Bahamas and the World Commonwealth Youth Games. A great experience for all concerned with medals brought home too! In addition, Matthew Willis, Cari Hughes, Sarah Omoregie, Bethan Davies & Dewi Griffiths spoke about their achievements over the past 12 months and plans and goals for the upcoming year along with a chat with Chris Jones, the National Endurance Co-ordinator. Finally, Aled Sion Davies was presented with his award by his coach, Ryan Spencer-Jones. Davies took all back to London 2012 and his success there while Spencer-Jones responded by saying that the pair are constently learning and creating a brilliant relationship. It was clear that both want to achieve their best and learn from each other.




CLUBS / CLYBIAU: there have been some exceptional performances from Wales' clubs during the year, the category winning awards went to:

Track & Field Club of the Year: SWANSEA HARRIERS

Off Track Club of the Year: SWANSEA HARRIERS

Junior Track & Field Club of the Year: CARDIFF AAC

Inclusivity Club of the Year: CARDIFF AAC

Development Club of the Year: RHYMNEY VALLEY AC

Welsh Overall Club of the Year: CARDIFF AAC


VOLUNTEERS / GWIRFODDOLWYR: those giving up their time to contribute to the success of the sport; in a range of fields:

Volunteer of the Year: NATHAN JONES (Carmarthen Harriers)

Services to Club Development: SAMANTHA PERROTT (Run4All Neath)

Award of Honour/Service Award: STEVE PERKS


Picture: Irfon Bennett


OFFICIALS / SWYDDOGION: those who stand out for hours in warm sunshine or in challenging wet conditions; officials ensure that the events can continue on time for the athletes in a safe environment. Welsh Athletics were lucky to have a number selected to officiate at the World Athletics Championships this year:

Newcomer to Officiating: PETER GREGSON (Cardiff AAC)

Young Official of the Year: AMY PRICE (Cwmbran Harriers)

Off Track Official of the Year: GRAHAM FINLAYSON (Cardiff AAC)

Track & Field Official of the Year: DAVE JESSETT (Swansea Harriers)


COACHES / HYFFORDDWYR: These support and develop athletes to be the best that they can become. Coaches help athletes to achieve on club, school or international stages:

Performance Coach - Track & Field: PAUL DARNEY (Cardiff AAC)

Performance Coach - Off Track: JAMES THIE (Cardiff AAC)

Participation / Development Coach - Track & Field: ROB SADDLER (Rhymney Valley AC)

Participation / Development Coach - Off Track: CERI-ANNE BROWN (Run4All Neath)

International Performance Coach of the Year: RYAN SPENCER-JONES



RUN WALES / RHEDEG CYMRU: Recognising leader and groups:

Run Leader of the Year: CAT JOHNSON (Diva Sport / Run Diva)

Group of the Year: CANTON CHARGERS


ATHLETE PERFORMANCE / PERFFORMIADAU ATHLETWYR: it's the athletes who succeed and bring success to athletics in Wales; they train hard and this results in rewarding thanks to their coaches, families and supporters:

Senior Male - Track & Field: DAVID OMOREGIE (Cardiff AAC)

Senior Male - Off Track: DEWI GRIFFITHS (Swansea Harriers)

Senior Female - Track & Field: MELISSA COURTNEY (Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers)

Senior Female - Off Track: BETHAN DAVIES (Cardiff AAC)

Junior Male - Track & Field: JAKE HEYWARD (Cardiff AAC)

Junior Male - Off Track: MATTHEW WILLIS (Wrexham AC)

Junior Female - Track & Field: SARAH OMOREGIE (Cardiff AAC)

Junior Female - Off Track: CARI HUGHES (Swansea Harriers)

Outstanding Performance Award - Track & Field: ALED SION DAVIES (Cardiff AAC)

Outstanding Performance Award - Off Track: JOSH GRIFFITHS (Swansea Harriers)


Congratulations to all the winners at the 2017 awards and thank them for their continued contribution to the sport. It is hoped that the next 12 months will be as successful as the previous one just gone. A big thanks to Welsh Athletics staff plus Rhiannon Linginton-Payne, James Williams, Jacqueline Brace and Chris Moss on their hard work over the past few weeks and months to put on a fantastic evening!

Elsewhere, there were plenty of other activities held at the same venue. On Saturday, the Welsh Athletics Clubs Conference built on the success of the last two years with a chance for all clubs in Wales to get involved and saw another strong line-up of presenters involved.

The morning sessions saw the introduction of the Welsh Athletics Club Modernisation as well as the "New Club Support Portal", "Growing, Developing and Sustaining a Community Club and Support and Opportunities for Clubs."

Following lunch, the following topics were presented: "Tips for Building a Successful Club" and "How to Thrive - Recruit and Retain Your Club Volunteers Effectively."

Mike Lynch, Richard Jones, Mel Anderson and Steve Brace were part of the line-up of presenters for the day. There was a strong emphasis on Club Modernisation and the Future Proofing of club activities. It also featured the ever popular Club workshops allowing clubs to share examples of good practice and innovative activities.



24 hours later, the Welsh Athletics Coaching Conference covered both event specific content and specific coaching skills. The keynote speaker for the day was Fuzz Caan who has a wealth of experience of coaching at the very top of athletics having coached at Olympic games and World championships level.

During the morning, those in attendance were able to attend the following sessions: "The Science Behind Sprinting by Hans Von Lieres, Neil Wheeler & Matt Archier" "Physical Preperation for Endurance by Andy Walling & Chris Jones" "The Role of the Field Event Coach in Competition by Scott Simpson, Fuzz Caan & Goldie Sayers"

After lunch, presentations were made to coaches on: "Preparing Athletes for Senior Success by Adam Rattenberry & Matt Craythorne" while Felicity Hares & Chris Beaumont spoke on "Maximising Your Training Sessions."

A great and fantastic weekend of celebration, achievement and learning development to go on and aim higher over the next few months and years!

@WelshAthletics / @CarmsHarriers for more from the weekend!