Tanni Grey-Thompson is renowned for her achievements as an athlete, and is a multi-gold medal winner in Paralympic sport. She competed for Wales at five Paralympic Games and three Commonwealth Games, winning 16 medals, including 11 gold medals, and holding over 35 world records.
Born in Cardiff, she started wheelchair racing at the age of twelve, and joined Bridgend Athletic Club at the age of fifteen. She studied at Loughborough University, gaining an honours degree in Politics and Social Administration, and has been an independent cross-bench member of the House of Lords since 2010.
Tanni combines a wealth of experience as an elite athlete with personal experiences of working as a development officer and a talent pathway coach.
She is currently the chair of UK Active (until June 2022), a trustee of the Commonwealth Sports Foundation, and an ambassador for UNICEF.
As Chair of Sport Wales, Tanni will be accountable to the Deputy Minister for Arts and Sport for Sport Wales’ performance and for the delivery of strategic priorities. Developing and maintaining a close relationship with the Deputy Minister and key members of the Welsh Government is a crucial part of the Chair’s role.
Announcing the appointment, Deputy Minister for Arts and Sport, Dawn Bowden, said:
I am delighted to appoint Tanni to this critically important role in Welsh sport. She brings a wealth of experience and many perspectives to the role – not only has she inspired a nation in the competitive arena, but she also has significant ambassadorial and strategic experiences at an international level.
As we celebrate the achievements of women on International Women’s Day today, her appointment will bring huge value to sport in Wales. She has been a credible and persuasive voice for youth, for women, and for disabled athletes across many areas of public life, and I look forward to working with her.
I’d also like to thank Lawrence Conway for his excellent work as Chair over the past 5 years as he leaves the organisation in great shape following an extremely challenging time.
Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson said:
I am both delighted and excited by this chance to support people to become active and to lead healthy lifestyles. I firmly believe that had I not been born and raised in Wales, I would not have experienced the opportunities that came my way.
On a personal level, this appointment completes a circle. Sport Wales (and Elite Cymru) was the first board I joined while I was still a competing athlete – it gave me a real insight into how the sports system works from both perspectives. It is a real privilege to be offered this opportunity.
Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson will start in her role on 4 July, taking over from Lawrence Conway who steps down after 5 years in the role.
Lawrence Conway, said:
I feel extremely privileged to have led Sport Wales over the last 5 years. I would like to thank in particular the Board and all the staff of Sport Wales who have worked so hard and been so supportive over this time. I believe the organisation is in a very good place right now.
But there are always challenges ahead and I cannot think of anyone more suited to lead the organisation in meeting those challenges than Tanni whose record and commitment to sport and physical activity at all levels speak for themselves. I wish her every success.