Sports stars in the running for St David Awards

By Twm Owen in Local People

TWO Breconshire sporting stars could be honoured by the Welsh Government for their achievements at the Rio Olympics and Paralympics.

Natalie Powell and Rob Davies are both nominated in the sport category of the St David Awards as Welsh members of Team GB at the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

All Welsh members of the GB squads have been nominated for the sport honour in the national awards of Wales. The St David Awards are intended to acknowledge the extraordinary achievements of people in or from Wales and recognise the great deeds and contributions made by people from all walks of life.

Natalie, from Beulah near Builth Wells, missed out on a medal in judo at the Olympics while Rob, from Brecon, put his disappointing performance at the London 2012 Paralympics behind him to claim gold in wheelchair table tennis in Rio.

The Welsh Team GB members are competing against the Wales Euro 2016 football heroes and the former president of Hockey Wales, Anne Ellis for the sporting honour.

The 24 Welsh athletes selected by Team GB was the largest ever overseas contingent of Welsh athletes at an Olympic Games, while the 26 Welsh Paralympics athletes accounted for 10% of the Great Britain team.

In the culture category jazz musician and archivist Jen Wilson has been shortlisted alongside Elfed Roberts, the chief executive of the National Eisteddfod, and the Cory Brass Band from Treorchy.

Professor Wilson has for more than 50 years played a central role in promoting jazz music in Wales and in documenting its history and social impact – and in particular the role of women in jazz.

She performed at a special concert at last year’s Brecon Jazz Weekend to mark the opening of the Women in Jazz exhibition that ran during the festival.

The musician and professor is one of the founders of the Swansea-based Jazz Heritage Wales.

Announcing the finalists, First Minister Carwyn Jones said: "The St David Awards, now in their fourth year, are all about celebrating people who have gone the extra mile to make a difference to someone else’s life, overcome adversity or achieved something truly inspirational.

"Once again, the St David Awards finalists are an exceptional group of people. Every single one is a credit to Wales - it is going to be tough to choose the winners. I look forward to celebrating their outstanding achievements at the awards ceremony on March 23."

Three finalists have been announced in each of the award categories: Bravery; Citizenship; Culture; Enterprise; Innovation, Science and Technology; International; Sport and Young Person.

All finalists are presented with the award’s dove pin badge.