Four amazing women have been nominated in the Sport Wales sponsored ‘Women in Sport’ category at Chwarae Teg’s Womenspire Awards.
Whether through coaching at grassroots or participating at elite level, they are inspirational role models for aspiring women and girls in sport. Following in the footsteps of last year’s winner, Vera Ngosi-Sambrook, these women will be recognised at the awards for making a unique difference within women’s sport in Wales.
In what will be the last Womenspire Awards, Chwarae Teg will celebrate women from not only sport but all backgrounds across Wales who have broken down barriers to achieve their goals.
Find out more about this year’s Women in Sport nominees below.
Usually, you’ll find Nicola fighting fires for a living. But a fire ignited within her when she first laced her gloves up for a charity boxing event. Organising the fundraiser for her nephew, she found a new passion when she stepped into the ring herself.
After stumbling across boxing, Nicola experienced a buzz that she wanted to share with other females. At Apollos, Llanedeyrn & Pentwyn ABC, she has gone on to empower domestic abuse survivors and improve the mental health of women through the power of the sport.
Nicola said: “Apollo’s is situated in one of the most disadvantaged areas in South Wales. For me, it was about building that club into a community enterprise.
“It’s been a personal journey and I wanted to share that with females. There are a lot of females I knew that could benefit from being in this environment. That sense of belonging and family and having that safe space to just be you.”
With 204 international caps, Leah is Wales’ most capped sportsperson ever! Her career successes include competing at four Commonwealth Games with Hockey Wales and winning an Olympic Bronze medal in Tokyo with Team GB.
Across almost 20 years of competing at the highest level, Leah has juggled being a history teacher with making history of her own on the hockey pitch. Now, she wants to continue to promote the benefits of sport and raise the profile of Welsh hockey by coaching women and speaking in schools.
Leah said: “Sport for me is so, so important to learn personal and lifelong skills of resilience, teamwork and communication. I’m a real supporter of celebrating failure in that way. If things don’t go to plan, that’s fine, it’s all a part of the journey.
“Genuinely makes my day to coach children, try to inspire them, and teach them hockey and the life lessons that I’ve had so I'm very honoured to be nominated.”
Despite a personal illness preventing her own participation in sport, Janie’s selflessness and dedication to Blaenavon Netball Club has helped to create a safe and fun environment for girls to enjoy netball. She has encouraged more girls to start playing at the club and has kept them engaged in netball through her innovation and creativity.
Her daughter now coaches at the club having given her and other women the encouragement to complete their coaching courses. This way more young women can continue to inspire the next generation at Blaenavon Netball, just like Janie has.
Janie said: “The coach was taking maternity leave and decided she didn’t want to come back. A few of us got together, set up and committee and took the club over. There were about 15 children at the time and over the past few years, we‘ve managed to get it up to 80 children.
“I work quietly behind the scenes but always pushing for more funding. The girls are coming and they’re having fun. It’s more like one big family than it is coaches and children. Anyone can take up netball and I think sport brings on confidence with children so much.”
There is only one woman in Wales who holds the UEFA Goalkeeper ‘A’ Licence and that is Delyth Morgan. Falling in love with stopping her brother and his friends scoring goals led her to become the captain and goalkeeper for Wrexham FC and full-time goalkeeper coach at Liverpool FC.
After leading her team to promotion to the Adran Premier League, Del knows the impact sport can have on young women and wants to help remove barriers to inspire more women and girls into football.
Del said: “I used to volunteer as a coach for Denbighshire Council and I eventually went to work as a community sport development officer going into schools and getting kids active. I also did a lot of work with older people.
“I hope that I inspire people with my journey that I’ve taken. It’s an honour and I’m proud to be recognised for the work and I was thoroughly surprised as well. I only hope this is the start of women working in the football world.”