Anthony Hughes receives coach of the year award
Paul Dancey on 18/11/2011
Paralympic coach Anthony Hughes from Penarth has added the Sport Wales Coach of the Year title to his list of successes.
Credited with developing the renowned Disability Sport Wales academy and producing an army of elite athletes, Anthony Hughes has helped make Wales one of the most successful pound-for-pound nations in world para-sport.
At the senior World Athletics Championships held by IPC (International Paralympic Committee) in New Zealand in January 2011, outstanding performances by the Welsh athletes saw them return with 18% of the Great Britain medal haul.
His young star Nathan Stephens won gold in the F57 javelin, while there was a silver for Aled-Sion Davies in the F42 Discus and bronze for Kyron Duke in the F40 Javelin.
In August, Stephens broke the world record at the Czech Open, recording a distance of 41.37m.
Hughes, himself a wheelchair user, took the honour in the Coach to Disabled Performers category.
At the annual ceremony in Cardiff, a special recognition award was handed to Gwyndaf Hughes, whose battle against cancer didn't stop him devoting hours to Pwllheli Sailing Club each week and passing his Royal Yachting Association senior qualifications at the age of 71.
With over 40 years in gymnastics, Abertillery's Stuart Conner was also given special recognition for the hours he puts into sport and his work in saving his club when it merged with another club.
Other winners at this year's ceremony include Malcolm Arnold, coach to world champion Dai Greene, who picked up the High Performance Coach of the Year.
For his work to increase provision of girls football in Caerphilly, Stuart Robson picked up the volunteer award, while Flintshire's Steven Thomas picked up the Young Coach/Volunteer of the Year title for his work to get youngsters involved in London 2012.
After another successful season indoors and outdoors, Cardiff Amateur Athletics Club coach Helen James is the top female coach.
The top prize in the male category was taken by Newport boxing coach Tony Borg. Club coach to Sean McGoldrick, he played his part in preparing and training Sean to a Commonwealth Games gold medal in Delhi last October.
For his work to develop new coaches in table tennis, Pontypridd's Ryan Jenkins picked up the Contribution to Coach Development trophy.
Emphasising the importance of coaches to Welsh sport, Welsh Government funding helps Sport Wales invest around £5 million each year in grassroots and elite coaching.
Sports Minister Huw Lewis said: "We have a wealth of talented sports coaches across Wales and their dedication and passion is helping athletes of all abilities to reach their full potential.
"These inspirational coaches instil virtues beyond sporting excellence such as discipline, team work, patience and striving to be your best.
"Whether as a professional or volunteer coach, their contribution is equally valued and I feel privileged to recognise their hard work and achievements. Congratulations to all of this year's winners and finalists."
Sport Wales, along with its partners, has committed to doubling the number of coaches and volunteers in Wales, to around 250,000 by 2016 - around 10% of the population.
Chair of Sport Wales, Professor Laura McAllister said: "As well as my pride in seeing Welsh athletes and teams pick up medals and trophies, learning about the inspirational work of these coaches and volunteers is one of the best parts of my role at Sport Wales.
"As we continue to achieve success we would be nothing without the people who put in hours and hours every week, often unpaid, to provide opportunities and improve our next generation of stars.
"There are coaches and volunteers somewhere in Wales who are bringing through the next Sam Warburton, Gareth Bale and Dai Greene.
"But the main thing for coaches and volunteers is to help youngsters and athletes to be the best they can be - on whatever level. It isn't just about elite sport but giving opportunities to everyone. Our winners and finalists show how this is done in Welsh sport.
"We will continue to encourage, support and improve coaches in any way we can. We need the public to step forward and help out in their community - particularly with big events like London 2012 increasing interest like never before.
"Congratulations to Anthony and all our winners and finalists."
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