DR PAUL THOMAS has been appointed as the new Chair of Sport Wales, Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism, Ken Skates has announced.
Having spent more than 30 years working across a range of community development, strategic leadership and sport inclusion roles, often in socially disadvantaged areas, Dr Thomas brings with him a wealth of knowledge and experience to this important role.
As well as leading on major projects for UK Sport and Sport England, his recent achievements include setting up a community fitness gym in Ebbw Vale to offer local people an opportunity to improve their physical fitness and wellbeing and, in 2015; he was shortlisted for Sir Alex Ferguson’s ‘Most Influential Leader’ of the year award.
Building on the excellent work of Professor Laura McAllister, the new Chair, Dr Paul Thomas, will be responsible for leading Sport Wales into an exciting period for Welsh Sport. One of his key priorities will be to drive and facilitate a new approach to community sport that creates a clear line of sight between Welsh Government goals and investment decisions and the needs and challenges of clubs, communities, coaches, athletes and volunteers.
Dr Thomas will be expected to galvanise the sport sector in Wales to deliver against the Wellbeing of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 and to do that by maximising the collective effort and investment of Sport Wales and their partners in National Governing Bodies, Local Authorities and the Third and private sectors.
The Deputy Minister said: “The calibre of talent applying for this role was very high but I am delighted to announce Dr Paul Thomas will be the new Chair of Sport Wales. His vision, passion and commitment, along with his knowledge and experience in leadership and management made him the right person for this important role.
“We want to break down the barriers to participation in sport and physical activity and create opportunities for people of all ages and abilities to become hooked on sport for life. I am confident Paul’s qualities, experience and commitment will help the Welsh Government deliver a more physically active and successful sporting nation.”
Dr Paul Thomas said: “Having grown up in the South Wales valleys and played sport most of my life I am certain of the benefits sport and physical activity can have on people’s health and wellbeing. Sport has provided me with great opportunities and skills so to be appointed to this role by the Deputy Minister is a privilege.
“I particularly look forward to meeting all those involved in grassroots sport and to help in some way to create a new future for the generations of communities throughout Wales; making us even stronger, more active and resilient.
“I am also looking forward to working with the Board and everyone involved at Sport Wales to help it deliver the vision of ‘Uniting a Proud Sporting Nation’ but one in which everyone in Wales is active, fit and enjoying life through the benefits of sport.
“Over the past decade I have worked in regions all over the world, making a difference to the health and wellbeing of people, leaders and organisations. It’s such a privilege to be able to use that experience to play a part in the future of Welsh sport.”
Dr Paul Thomas’ term of appointment will begin in April, for a period of three years, until 31 March 2019. He succeeds Professor Laura McAllister who has served as the Chair of Sport Wales for six years.
Gealey holds nerve to send Stars to victory
NEW DOCK STARS earned their first win of the season on Saturday (Jan 15) as they beat Bynea 29-30 in a thrilling encounter.
The Dock held a 20-12 lead at half time and were ahead going into the final stages.
Bynea thought they had won the game when a late score put them 29-27 in front.
However, the Stars hit back with time running out and Adam Gealey scored a penalty to win the game for his side.
That gave him a personal haul of 15 points having already scored with two penalties and three conversions.
Dylan Jones scored two tries for the visitors and Jordan Evans got the other.
Bynea’s George MacDonald scored a hat trick of tries and Finlay Cooke also crossed the whitewash once.
James Branson added three conversions and one penalty.
It was a thrilling encounter as both sides belied their positions at the foot of the table.
On Saturday, January 22, the Stars travel to Llandybie while Bynea host Betws.
Photo by Darren Harries
Furnace seal second win
FURNACE UNITED earned their second win of the League 3 West B season on Saturday (Jan 15) as they beat Llandybie.
Daf Green scored for the Cherries with other tries coming from Joe Qualters-Jones, Myles Harries, Joe Pugh and Jonny Roberts.
Green was successful with three of five conversion attempts and he also added a penalty.
Furnace held a 13-5 lead at half time as Llandybie scored an unconverted try in each half.
Ioan Rees and Josh Watkins scored the tries for the visitors.
On Saturday, January 22, Furnace United travel to Llandeilo while Llandybie host New Dock Stars.
PHOTO by Darren Harries
Saunders stars as Llangennech beat Gowerton
LLANGENNECH remain unbeaten in League 1 West after they won 33-16 away at Gowerton on Saturday (Jan 15).
Liam Hutchings put the visitors ahead with the first try of the game and Tom Neale added the extras.
Gowerton then got themselves on the scoreboard with a penalty but Llangennech were soon back on the attack.
Jordan Saunders was next to go over and Neale again added the extras.
Gowerton reduced the arrears once more with another penalty and the visitors held a 14-6 lead when the half time whistle went.
Gowerton scored another penalty early in the second half to keep themselves in the game.
However, Llangennech kept applying the pressure and they soon had their third try with Saunders going over for his second and Neale adding his third conversion to make it 21-9.
Saunders then completed his hat trick to also earn his side a bonus point.
Gowerton responded with a converted try to bring the score back to 16-26 but it was the visitors who had the last word.
Greg George scored their fifth try of the game and Neale converted to complete the scoring.
Saunders was named man of the match for his try hat trick and the win sees them move on to 25 points, six points above second placed Newcastle Emlyn.
The sides are next in action on Saturday, January 29, when Llangennech host third placed Felinfoel while Gowerton travel to Aberystwyth.
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