More than two hundred people convened at the Angel Hotel in Cardiff last Saturday, 26th September 2009, to celebrate the success and achievements of the best athletes in Wales at the third Welsh Athletics Annual Hall of Fame and Awards Dinner.
A star-studded ceremony saw the induction to the prestigious Hall of Fame of four of the most loved stars of our sport: Jamie Baulch, indoor World Champion in the 400m, Ron Jones, World Record Holder in the 4x110 yards, Hayley Tullett, silver and bronze Commonwealth Games medallist in the 1500m and Shaun Pickering, Commonwealth Games bronze in the shot put, joined the likes of Colin Jackson, Tanni Grey-Thompson and Steve Jones in the third year of this amazing ceremony.
The night saw the presence of 1952 Olympic Games bronze medallists Sylvia Disley and Jean Pickering, who received a special award to commemorate their success in Helsinki, and of recent stars like David Greene, who reached the final of the World Championships in Berlin last month.
Greene received the award for Male Athlete of the Year in the light of his stunning achievements this season, while the Female Athlete of the Year award went to Commonwealth Games hopeful Elaine O’Neill. Among the juniors, the Athlete of the Year awards went to Simon Lawson, who won the silver medal in the 10,000m at the European Junior Championships, and Toni Wells, who collected accolades on both the Welsh domestic scene and internationally.
Olympic bronze medallist and Hall of Fame inductee John Disley presented the Lifetime Achievement Award to John Collins, in recognition of his unsurpassed contribution to the sport of Athletics in Wales in the last half century. After moving to Wales in 1961, John Collins played an instrumental part in the history of Welsh Athletics and held the highest posts within the organisation.
The night saw also a special gathering of former mile and 1500m Welsh Champions, congregating to celebrate the Welsh greats in one of the most demanding disciplines in athletics. Among the milers who attended the night were Tony Harris, the first Welshman to run the distance in less than 4 minutes, Hall of Fame inductee Kirsty Wade, Kim Lock, Roger Hackney and James Thie.
As in the previous dinner in 2008, the night was the occasion to celebrate the other true heroes of Welsh Athletics – the volunteers and coaches who everyday put in a remarkable effort to create the basis of our sport. The recipients of the “Charles Heidsieck & Co. Monopole Champagne Club Awards” were:
- Club of the Year (Track & Field): Swansea Harriers
- Club of the Year (Off Track): Swansea Harriers
- Club of the Year (Juniors): Swansea Harriers
- Club of the Year (Inclusivity): Wrexham AAC
- Young Volunteer of the Year: Tom Rogers (Ynys Mon/North West Wales)
- Club Volunteer of the Year: Joan Goldsmith (Carmarthen Harriers)
- Services to Club Development: Alwyn Roberts (Menai Track & Field)
- Newcomer to Officiating: Nigel Hinwood (Cwmbran Harriers)
- Off Track Official of the Year: Jeff Kirby (Cardiff AAC)
- Track & Field Official of the Year: Chris Price (Cwmbran Harriers)
- Services to Officiating: Keith Adams (Wrexham AAC)
- Participation Coach of the Year: Dave Edwards (Wrexham AAC)
- Performance Coach of the Year: Kevin Evans (Carmarthen Harriers)
- Services to Coaching Development: Barrie Owen (Swansea Harriers)
- Partnership of the Year: Carmarthen Harriers/Carmarthenshire County Council
Welsh Athletics was happy to announce that Swansea Harriers (Club of the Year), Joan Goldsmith (Volunteer of the Year), Barrie Owen (Coach of the Year) and the Carmarthen Harriers/Carmarthenshire County Council partnership would progress to the UKA Awards as representatives of Wales.
Cardiff AAC won the Wilkinson Sword, awarded to the Welsh club collecting the most medals in the Welsh Championships, snatching it from 2007 and 2008 winners Carmarthen Harriers.
The night also featured, for the first time in the history of this event, the award ceremony for the Welsh Schools Athletic Association. Accolades (including a training grant) for the best Endurance runners went to Ffion Price and Dewi Griffiths, while the prizes for track & field went to Rebecca Davies and David Guest.
Pictures of the night are available on DE Photo's website.