Posts Tagged ‘Sport Wales’

This month we were joined by Chief Executive of Sport Wales, Sarah Powell. Sarah was appointed in September 2013 and is the first female to hold this position within the organisation. She has previously worked on the Sports Council for Wales with the Welsh National Governing Bodies (NGBs) of sport as well as heading the Performance and Excellence department.

Sarah Powell

Sarah Powell

Sarah also authored and implemented Wales’ Elite Sports Strategy which provided the framework within which Welsh athletes broke all records of medals won at the 2012 London Olympic Games.

Beginning her address to the Breakfast Club, Sarah stressed the need to embrace sport within Wales and break down preconceptions that “Wales is a small nation punching above its weight.” Wales should seek success, including a bid to host the 2026 Commonwealth games, and “cannot and should not embrace second best.” Sarah pointed to the success of Frankie Jones, the inspirational Welsh gymnast who won gold in her last ever performance during the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

Sarah also explained that we are currently witnessing unprecedented times in Welsh budget cuts, with sport being one of the areas to be hit the hardest. She said that: “I passionately believe that for too long sport and leisure have been seen as the soft options for cuts. In my opinion this is short sighted when sport and participation have such a vital role in supporting the health crisis.” She also stressed the fact that Sport Wales are still delivering despite these cuts – despite decreasing investment they have hit every target set out over the past 2 years.

Sport Wales is now engaging and working with business more than has ever been seen before. Yet Sarah says there is still a need to do more to continue to develop even stronger partnerships. She also stressed the fact that “it is people we need to invest in, not just ideas.” Steps also need to be taken to make sport more engaging across a wider spectrum of society.

To conclude her talk, Sarah stressed her belief that it is vital to work with the aim of “building a Sportopia – a Wales where sport is valued.” Since the World Health Organisation have cited getting physically active as one of the key steps for a healthier nation, it is easy to see why.

The next Breakfast Club will be held on 20th January with guest speaker Trevor Williams, Chief Economist of Lloyds Bank. For further information and booking details, please contact or phone 02920 549597.

Team Wales at Glasgow 2014 Opening Ceremony

Team Wales at Glasgow 2014 Opening Ceremony

I wholeheartedly agree with Sion Barry’s comments in today’s Western Mail that we should bid for hosting the 2026 Commonwealth Games. Can you imagine the worldwide publicity that could be achieved from the day the city is chosen as host, right through the actual event and years afterwards, as the benefits derived from the Games are realised.

Yes, the cost would be huge. But the infrastructure projects which would be needed to be put in place before the Games could start would benefit our economy both in the short and long term.

Cardiff and Wales would get a tremendous buzz before, during and after the Games. The feel good factor that Sion refers

Road cyclist Geraint Thomas wins Gold for Wales at Glasgow 2014

Road cyclist Geraint Thomas wins Gold for Wales at Glasgow 2014

to would be a huge boost to those promoting participation in sport, raising the aspirations of our young and mature athletes to new heights. Our ‘Welcome to Wales’ theme could be enhanced and promoted around the world.

I recall as a youngster when Cardiff hosted the Commonwealth Games in 1958 when 35 nations sent just 1130 athletes that the city was alive and buzzing, and we gave a great welcome to our visitors.  Glasgow have just hosted the best ever Games and will benefit for decades to come.

Let’s hope that the sports administrators, the business community, politicians and forward thinkers in our city accept the challenge and go for Gold in 2026. Also a final request from a rower who represented Wales a number of times; please put rowing back on the programme for 2026!

I really do agree with the comment in today’s Western Mail, ‘Exercise should be a natural part of life’.  The cost of dealing with the obesity problem in Wales, not first for adults but also for young children, will continue to mount otherwise.

A 10 year strategy involving all the key partners involved, i.e. Welsh Government, local authorities, Health boards, school-sports-day-006Sport Wales, parent’s associations etc, should be produced and achieved with regular monitoring.With 59% of adults in Wales overweight or obese, these figures are shocking. However, when you examine figures showing 28% of children aged four and under have an unhealthy body mass index, and 12.5% termed obese, it becomes ‘truly frightening’.

I know that Sport Wales have a number of excellent programmes involving school children which show an increase in young people participating in sport at least 3 times a week, but it’s not enough.

Every adult in Wales must sign up to the campaign to encourage children to take up exercise. Not necessarily sport, but just to start moving their young bodies further than just from kitchen, to lounge, to car, to school. Encourage them to appreciate the great outdoors, go for a walk, play in the park and breathe fresh air, not just stimulating the body but the mind also with new experiences.  Not all children are competitive so should not be forced to take up such a sport, just encouraged to move their bodies and show that exercise is a ‘natural part of life’.

The costs if we do not act now will be significant to our economy and our nation. Would it not be terrible with all our sporting heritage to become the most obese country in the world?

wales-rugby-teamLet’s wish our Welsh Rugby team all the very best for Sunday, and hope that their success motivates many more young people to take up sport and represent our country at the highest level in years to come.

running walesReading Dr Rhodri Martin’s piece in yesterday’s Western Mail as the lack of physical activity as the single most detrimental behaviour afflicting the worldwide population, I must endorse his comments with a passion.

As outlined last Saturday by Professor Steven Blair at a recent conference held in Cardiff, “inactivity is killing more often than smoking, obesity and diabetes combined”!

The burden on the NHS in Wales, and therefore on a tax payer, of illnesses etc caused by unfit people is not getting less, it’s getting more and more. We must put greater emphasis on getting this nation moving.

You do not have to visit a gym to get fit.  Just start off moderately by using stairs instead of a lift, walking to the shops as opposed to getting into your car or getting off a bus one or two stops before yours.  All of these simple adjustments could save your live as well as the nation thousands of pounds of health care.

Even dancing and singing can have beneficial effects as I found out on Saturday night when I took part in an extraordinary concert given by the legendary Bruce Springsteen at the Wembley Arena. He had the crowd dancing, singing, clapping and every member of the audience must have lost pounds in addition to enjoying a memorable event.

Let’s not dust this issue under the carpet, and let’s give it the airing it needs to get a strategy in place to address the problem and get our nation back in shape.

As I stated in my blog last week, for a tiny nation, with only 5% of the total population of Great Britain, Wales produces a staggering amount of successful businessmen and women, academics, leaders and sportsmen. Therefore I totally support the comments Professor Laura McAllister, Chair of Sport Wales,  makes in today’s Western Mail. She reminds us all that with only 5% of the population, our sportsmen and women have brought home 25% of Great Britain’s Olympic gold medals – unbelievable!

With today being 200 days to go until the opening ceremony, let’s use the Olympics this year to remind the whole world what a remarkable little nation we are: celebrating our’ past successes, and, of course, hopefully creating new ones!

We must embrace the Olympics and make our visitors and those countries using Wales for their pre-Games training welcome, so that they will return to their homelands as true ambassadors for Wales. With the very first matches of the entire games, the women’s football openers on the 25th of July,  being played our very own Millennium Stadium, the world will be watching us right from the start.

We may not be hosting the 100-metre sprint or the rowing eight finals, but there are huge benefits to be reaped from the ‘Olympic fever’ that grips the globe once every four years.  Wales can only benefit, in both the long and the short term. Will all those bleating about Wales not getting its’ fair share of the Olympic purse start supporting our athletes, administrators, hospitality franchises and all involved, to make the summer of 2012 the best Olympics yet.

Some of Wales’ brightest hopefuls for the 2012 games…

Nicole Cooke,  Cycling – our first gold medal winner at Beijing 2008.

Jade Jones, Taekwondo – who recently appeared on Jonathan Ross’ show.

Aaron Ramsey, who may well be representing Wales in Team GB, modelling the Olympic kit.

Andrew Selby, Boxing – 2011 European Champion, born and bred in Barry!

By Rob Petersen, Managing Director

Jack Petersen's Family

Last Friday (2nd September) I was immensely proud to attend the unveiling of a Blue Plaque in St Johns Street Cardiff to commemorate the life of my father Jack Petersen, who was born 100 years ago on this day in 1911.

Members of our family attended this great occasion, including my three brothers John, Michael, David and our sister, Elizabeth as well as our wives, partners, children and grandchildren and friends of the family.

The unveiling was made by the Lord Mayor Professor Delme Bowen who was accompanied by the Lord Mayoress. He made a glowing tribute to my father and his life as a champion boxer, Councillor, soldier, sports administrator and above all a family man whose roots remained in Cardiff his birthplace and home town.

Myself and my brothers commemorating our father outside his new plaque

It was a truly memorable day for all the family. Let us home the example he set for young Welsh sportsmen and women in the 1930’s will live on for ever so that Wales can produce more World Champions like Dai Greene and Tom Jones who so personify the spirit and essence of my fathers philosophy on life.

Full story and images available here.

By Becci Gould, Account Executive, Petersens PR

This morning the members of the Cardiff Breakfast Club were greeted by a truly inspirational speaker – the multi-talented Chair of Sport Wales, Professor Laura McAllister who, although completing a PhD, writing a number of political texts, and becoming Professor of Governance at University of Liverpool, still maintains that sport is the greatest means of acquiring a sense of self-pride, ambition and inner contentment.

Addressing an audience of nearly 100 business people from around Cardiff, Laura explained that after experiencing its remarkable effects at grass-roots level, for her, it is time to put something back into the world of sport. And through the new Vision for Sport in Wales, she is able to do just that.

As a former Wales International Soccer Player and board member of Sport UK, it is no wonder that Laura has stretched Sport Wales to set some incredibly ambitious targets this year.

She explained that Sport Wales had two clear ambitions:

1. To get every child in Wales hooked on sport for life

2. To render Wales as a nation of sporting champions


Two very challenging targets that Laura assures us will not be taken lightly!

No, not every child will enjoy competitive sports such as football, rugby and netball but this does not mean their physical activity should be limited. Sport is as diverse as the children that play it – from cheerleading to table tennis – there is no doubt that any child can discover something that suits them.

Why is this important?”


Laura explained that being physically literate is as important as learning to read and write. It enables children to become aware of themselves and their abilities, to work with others and to learn how to conduct themselves appropriately. The benefits are endless – from personal development such as confidence building and motivation to education, not to mention the health implications such as tackling obesity, childhood poverty and social exclusion.  


But children will not encourage themselves to get involved in Sport. “


Laura explained that as adults and parents we too should be taking an active role in sport, whether it be joining a sports club or volunteering – we need to put sport back on the agenda and fully embrace its effects.

Sport has the power to bring communities together, to connect families and to create positive role models for children.  And it is through these amazing Welsh role models that Wales can be recognised as a nation of sporting champions.

Dai Greene celebrates after winning Gold in the Mens 400m Hurdles final

Although winning an impressive 19 medals for Wales in last year’s Commonwealth Games, Laura argues that our true potential as a nation has not yet fully been realised, and thus advances our targets for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games to 35 medals!


And why shouldn’t we be ambitious? “


We’ve got some remarkable sporting figures, fantastic coaches and great facilities – not to mention the support of leading businesses who are willing to invest both time and money into Sport.    

However, Laura emphasised that we do need volunteers such as parents and ex-competitors who can help to fully realise Laura’s dream.

Laura concluded her presentation by explaining that investing in sport is a win-win situation – by enlisting ourselves globally as a sporting nation we can firmly put Wales on the map, in turn providing positive results for all aspects of the economy.


The power of sport should never be underestimated…”


For further information on Sport Wales, visit

The next Cardiff Breakfast Club meeting will be held on 30th June with guest speaker Mark Hopwood, MD of First Great Western Trains. For further information or to join our mailing list email

Special Guest Speaker: Professor Laura McAllister, Chair, Sport Wales
Presentation Topic:
Sport: Uniting a Proud Sporting Nation


Laura reveals Wales’ new vision for sport and a sector wide aspiration to get every child hooked on sport for life and create a nation of champions.

Laura was appointed Chair of Sport Wales in February 2010, after previously being Vice-Chair. No stranger to success, Laura is a former international footballer and has a strong background in education, sport and politics.

The next Club Meeting will be held on Tuesday 24th May 2011 at The St. David’s Hotel & Spa, Cardiff Bay.  As usual, we will commence at 7.45am and finish by 9.15am.  Breakfast will be served promptly at 8.00am.

If you wish to attend, please contact Becci Gould on 029 2054 9597 or e-mail Tickets are priced £29. 

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