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Port Talbot Boxing Programme Honoured at UK Coaching Awards


The Bulldogs, a boxing programme which has engaged over 500 people in the last year in Port Talbot, is among winners at this year’s UK Coaching Awards.

The prestigious annual celebration of Great Coaching, which demonstrates the role coaching plays in transforming lives and inspiring an active nation, was held in December 2019 at The Tower Hotel, London.

A partnership between Bulldogs Boxing & Community Activities and Port Talbot Amateur Boxing Club, The Bulldogs’ five-pillar programme has earned them the Coaching for an Active Life Award.

With fitness and boxing the two most popular pillars, over 500 people, including army veterans, disabled people and young offenders have attended sessions, with over 80% reporting an improvement in their overall well-being.

A youth council also looks after the interests of everyone under the age of 22, with members over 16 encouraged to take leadership and coaching qualifications alongside volunteer work in boxing sessions – four young people have subsequently found employment.

Mal Emerson said:

“We’re totally shocked to be perfectly honest with you. We came from a little betting office to start off with, so to now be here in London is absolutely unbelievable, and seeing our kids progress with the Bulldogs has been absolutely tremendous.

“What we’ve achieved coming from such a little place is absolutely unbelievable, and it’s almost like a dream come true. Never in a million years did we think we’d ever be coming to London to receive any kind of award of our own. Never did we think that what we were giving back to the community and to the kids, would lead to us having some sort of award.”

A number of coaches behind the success of Cardiff-born Olympic sailing champion Hannah Mills MBE were also at the UK Coaching Awards to pick up the previously announced The Coaching Chain award – shared this year with the coaches of England cricketer Ben Stokes – a prize which celebrates the great contributions a number of coaches have made through the respective athletes’ journey to the top of their sport.

Alan Williams said:

“I worked with Hannah when she was a junior national champion and going onto the junior world championships, and she always had the potential to go on and be a world champion and go to the Olympic games.

“She went to number 10 Downing Street when she was 14 and told them she was going to be an Olympic gold medallist, she was very determined, very independent and she’s gone on to be a very good friend and achieve her dreams.”

The full winners on the night were:

Awards for Coaches:

  • Children and Young People’s Coach of the Year – supported by sportscotland – Sasha Moore (multi-sport, Stockport)
  • Community Coach of the Year – supported by Spond – Andrew Beech (multi-sport, London)
  • Changing Lives Award – supported by Sport England – Ben Lampert (football, London)
  • Talent Development Coach of the Year – supported by UK PCA – Danielle Brayson (swimming, Glasgow)
  • High Performance Coach of the Year – supported by UK Sport – Mel Marshall (swimming, Derby/Loughborough)
  • Young Coach of the Year – supported by Sport Wales – James Galt (football/futsal, Lancashire)
  • Coaching Moment of the Year – supported by Sports Journalists’ Association – Jurgen Klopp, Liverpool FC – 4-0 win over Barcelona in the 2018/19 UEFA Champions League semi-final
  • Lifetime Achievement Award – Judy Murray OBE (tennis)
  • The Coaching Chain – Ben Stokes (cricket) – Jon Gibson, John Windows, Geoff Cook, Andy Flower and Trevor Bayliss. Hannah Mills (sailing) – Anne Barrett, Ollie Green, Alan Williams and Joe Glanfield

Awards in Support of Coaches:

  • Coach Developer of the Year – Sue Ringrose (horse racing, Linconshire)
  • Transforming Coaching Award – supported by Believe Perform – Great Britain Hockey Coach Development Offer
  • Coaching for an Active Life Award – The Bulldogs (boxing, Port Talbot)

UK Coaching’s Director of Coaching, Emma Atkins said:

“What a fantastic night. It has been such a privilege getting to meet so many inspirational coaches.

“The range of coaching talent in the UK is astonishing and the UK Coaching Awards offers us a chance to recognise the exceptional achievements of just a fraction.

“Whether it’s at community or world class level, Great Coaching is all about people – a great coach focuses on a participant’s character, their feelings and motivations to help them thrive. They create healthy and happy lives and in many cases, can even change the trajectory of someone’s life for the better.

“You cannot fail to be inspired by the finalists and winners at tonight’s Awards. Congratulations to all of them – and to the work of all coaches doing great work all over the UK”.