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Outstanding coach Sion wins Young Ambassadors legacy award

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Out of the thousands of young people who have flourished thanks to the Young Ambassadors scheme in Wales over the last decade, one outstanding sports coach from Ammanford has been singled out for a special award.

Whether he's coaching football, rugby, badminton, netball, hockey or athletics, or helping tots to ride balance bikes, nineteen-year-old Sion Thomas always aims to make sport fun.

With his enthusiasm and positive attitude, you can't imagine anyone leaving one of Sion's sessions without a smile on their face, so his impact on the local community made him a deserving winner of the new Young Ambassadors legacy award, presented by Sport Wales and children's charity the Youth Sport Trust.

Sion first became involved with the Young Ambassadors scheme in 2017 at his school, Ysgol Dyffryn Aman. He began as a Silver Ambassador, but soon graduated to Gold and then Platinum - the highest level.

During a whirlwind two years, Sion has undertaken coaching courses in nearly a dozen different sports, and has set up Carmarthenshire's first ever disability football team, Rhydaman Rangers.

In that time, he has also been directly involved in supporting more than 50 young people as a mentor, helping them on their own journeys from Bronze to Silver Young Ambassadors.

Sion, who works as an Active Leader at Carmarthenshire Council, said: "The Young Ambassadors scheme has moulded my future for the better, giving me the structure and direction I needed. I love helping people and seeing them engaged in sport. The scheme means the world to me, and I now feel as though I can reach my full potential."

Sion picked up his award at the annual Young Ambassadors conference, which was held at the Cardiff City Stadium last week.

Sport Wales Chief Executive Sarah Powell, who presented the award, said: "To mark the scheme's tenth anniversary, the new legacy award was created to highlight how former Young Ambassadors are continuing to make a positive impact in their communities after moving on to the next chapter of their lives.

"Massive congratulations to Sion on his award. There are so many of the Young Ambassadors alumni who are doing fantastic things, so it was extremely hard to choose one winner!"

In addition to Sion scooping the legacy award, three other accolades were also presented at the conference. Tiffany Brannan was a very worthy winner of the Unsung Officer Award for her efforts to increase opportunities for Young Ambassadors in Conwy, while wheelchair basketball coach Nathan Jones, from Ceridigion, won the Inspiration Award.

The final award winner was Bronze Ambassador Millie Arnott who is making a huge impact in her Carmarthenshire primary school, Ysgol Drefach. She is really inspiring her classmates to be more active and has delivered presentations to the whole school about the Young Ambassadors scheme.

Supported by the Youth Sport Trust, and funded by Sport Wales, the Young Ambassadors programme was first introduced in Wales in 2010 as a legacy of the successful bid to host the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Since then, the scheme has empowered an estimated 19,000 Young Ambassadors as role models who encourage others to share their love of sport. The Young Ambassadors can be spotted every week leading sports sessions, coaching younger pupils, volunteering at events, and officiating matches in schools, colleges, universities and communities across Wales.