2023 Welsh Athletics & Run Wales Annual Awards Round-Up
The Welsh Athletics & Run Wales Annual Awards returned on Saturday for a great evening to celebrate the athletics and running community in Wales.
It has been a fantastic year from success on the World stage, history made at the Commonwealth Youth Games, and just under 300,000 adults running across Wales.
Through a charity raffle funds were raised for Latch Children's Cancer Charity. This was to celebrate the life of Cardiff Archers athlete, Ethan Hamer who tragically lost his battle with cancer in February this year. An amazing £1,130.50 was raised for the Welsh Cancer Charity!
Menai Track & Field took the Development Club of the Year award for a successive year. They have been leading on the regional Junior events in the quest to get North Wales up and running with the Junior League format. They have also supported neighbouring clubs such as Colwyn Bay and Eryri with the coaching and development elements to athletes and coaches, and they have established a network to support clubs in the surrounding area.
The Junior Club of the Year award was won by Cardiff Athletics, having had an excellent 12 months across all disciplines of the sport. On the track they performed well in the premier division of both the YDL Upper and Lower age groups finishing 2nd overall, in the Lower age group. They were multiple age group winners and medallists at the more recent Welsh Road Relay championships – an event which showcased the club’s strength and depth across the junior age groups.
Cardiff Athletics Junior Club of the Year
Swansea Harriers took the crown for Club of the Year. It has been another strong year for the club that has consistently produced high quality athletes at all levels of the sport. On track, their senior team competed in the Premiership of the National Athletics League whilst off track, both the men’s and women’s teams were victorious at the Welsh Road Relay championships with the senior men’s team also picking up the team title at the Welsh Cross Country Championships.
Kay Rogers took the Run Wales Run Leader of the Year award, having set up Park Run Tourism, each week the group attends a different parkrun organised by Kay. Not only has Kay formed a running club, but friendships have been formed through her friendliness, encouragement, and welcoming approach to everyone that runs with her.
Albany Road took the Run Wales Group of the Year. The group has been described as a place to connect, and a chance to take time out from everyday stresses plus improve your running at the same time, and a shining example of an inclusive club that supports runners of all abilities.
Albany Road Run Club (Run Wales Group of the Year).
Joyce Tomala was awarded the title of Services to Club Development, for her commitments to supporting the Youth Development League, competitions throughout East Wales, officials and clubs is fantastic. She works tirelessly supporting not only local league and regional competitions, but Inter-Regional and national competitions and supports the whole UK Youth Development League.
Crispin Backshall was recognised as the Volunteer of the Year. He has showed endless commitment to developing athletics in North Wales. He has been a volunteer for over 20 years at Colwyn Bay coaching, officiating and sitting on the North Wales Regional Council.
It was a clean sweep for Newport Harriers in the official awards category. David Gilbert who has recently taken on the lead duties as a track and field official picked up the Newcomer to Officiating award. David has been instrumental in organising courses at the club, encouraging other parents and recruiting new officials to complete their level 1 qualifications.
David Gilbert (Newcomer to Officiating) and Jasmine Barraclough (Official of the Year).
The Official of the Year award was won by Jasmine Barraclough, for being unfailingly enthusiastic and resourceful and leads a team of officials and engages with athletes in an admirable way. Earlier this season Newport hosted a Midland league match, and this individual was field referee. Despite the many challenges during the day - often equipment focussed- she was pleasant and efficient throughout.
Neil Thomas of Carmarthen Harriers won the award for Participation Coach of the Year, having shown his commitment to the endurance running community in Wales for many years. An ultra dedicated coach at his club, Carmarthen Harriers, he has developed a fine squad of young, talented middle-distance athletes – many of whom have pulled on the red vest of Wales, competing internationally, over the last 12 months.
Rob Denmark (Performance Coach of the Year) and Melissa Courtney-Bryant.
Rob Denmark took the Performance Coach of the Year award, having supported their athlete Melissa Courtney-Bryant back towards and beyond her best performances. After a challenging few seasons, Melissa went on to reach the final of the World Athletics Championships, broke the 4 minute mark for 1500m claiming multiple Welsh records along the way.
Michael Jenkins took the Male Junior Athlete of the Year award. The 19-year-old threw 3 consecutive personal bests. He added over a metre and a half to his previous best. Broke the European record. And to top it off won a brilliant world silver medal.
Gracie Griffiths continues a great legacy of race-walking athletes in Wales picking up the Junior Female Athlete of the Year. She broke the U20 5000M race walk Welsh Record at the Welsh International in August, previously belonging to her coach, Heather Warner.
Gracie Griffiths (Junior Female Athlete of the Year) and Michael Jenkins (Junior Male Athlete of the Year).
For a second year in a row sprinter Jeremiah Azu claimed the Performance of the Year award. Having stormed to the final of the European Athletics U23 Championships to take Gold and break the Championship Record with a time of 10.04 along the way. He was also voted the Athlete’s Athlete of the Year.
The Senior Male Athlete of the Year was won by Aled Davies, who secured his fifth World title in the summer. This thrower has completed a decade of dominance in the men’s F63 shot put. A fifth global title in the shot put added to the three he has in the discus, meaning he is now an eight-time world champion as well as a three-time Paralympic gold medallist.
Melissa Courtney-Bryant took the Senior Female Athlete of the Year award. She became the first Welsh female athlete to progress to a World Championship final since 2003 and breaking a long-standing Welsh Record. Starting the year off with a with European indoors medal, breaking the Welsh record and reaching the World final, she has enjoyed a great season.
Melissa Courtney-Bryant (Senior Female Athlete of the Year) and Aled Davies (Senior Male Athlete of the Year).
Congratulations to all the award winners! Llongyfarchiadau enfawr!
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