10 Dec 2008

Shane Williams has been voted BBC Wales Sports Personality of the Year 2008 following the result of a public phone-vote announced at the prestigious awards ceremony held at the Swalec Stadium on Sunday, December 7.

The inspirational Wales and Ospreys winger from the Amman Valley was named IRB World Player of the Year last month crowning a year in which Williams was a key member of Wales' Grand Slam winning national team and also helped take the Ospreys to victory in the EDF Energy Cup.

Williams scored decisive tries in four of Wales' five Six Nations wins and his score in the Grand Slam decider against France was the 41st try of his international career, breaking Gareth Thomas's all-time Welsh try record.

The awards ceremony, hosted by Jason Mohammad and Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson, also featured awards for the Team of the Year, Sports Unsung Hero, Lifetime Achievement, Junior Sportsman and Junior Sportswoman. These awards are chosen by a panel of experts and celebrated Welsh sportsmen and women.

The winners are:

  • Team of the Year: Cardiff City FC
  • Welsh Sports Unsung Hero: Cliff Williams of Pontyclun RFC
  • Lifetime Achievement Award: snooker legend Ray Reardon MBE
  • Carwyn James Junior Sportsman of the Year: footballer Aaron Ramsey
  • Carwyn James Young Sportswoman of the Year: golfer Amy Boulden

Team of the Year: Cardiff City FC

Football league Championship club Cardiff City FC reached the final of the FA Cup for the first time in 81 years and only the third time in their history earlier this year, beating Premiership side Middlesbrough in the sixth round and going on to a semi-final win over Barnsley at Wembley before losing 1-0 to Portsmouth in the final.

Although the team had a mediocre start to the season which saw them hovering above the relegation zone by mid November 2007, they picked up to become one of the form teams in the Championship by January as they sat on the brink of a play-off-place, settling into a mid-table place by early March.

The 2008/09 season will be the final year playing at their Ninian Park ground before moving on to the new stadium in the Leckwith area of Cardiff in August 2009.

Welsh Sports Unsung Hero: Cliff Williams

For over 30 years Cliff Williams has gone that extra mile to give young people, often from a disadvantaged background, an opportunity to improve their lives through sport.

For the past five years Cliff has been Chairman of Pontyclun RFC who run two senior teams - a youth and a ladies team - five junior teams and five mini-rugby teams, with 60 adults and 50 boys playing rugby each weekend. Cliff has been player, referee, first aid assistant, waterman for junior teams, committee member, second team manager, coach driver, pitch marker, dressing room cleaner, in charge of laundry and general handyman. Cliff is also involved in amateur boxing.

As winner of the BBC Wales Sports Unsung Hero, which is supported by Robinson's, Cliff will go forward to the national BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2008 awards held at Liverpool's Echo Arena, on Sunday, December 14, where an overall UK winner will be chosen.

Lifetime Achievement Award: Ray Reardon MBE

Retired snooker legend Ray Reardon MBE dominated the sport in the 1970s, winning six World Championships in a decade.

Born in 1932 in the coal mining community of Tredegar in Monmouthshire, Reardon left school and became a coal miner when he was just 14. Following an accident underground he quit mining and became a police officer. He played snooker as an amateur level for many years including winning five Welsh Amateur titles and the1964 English Amateur title, before turning professional in 1967.

His first appearance at the World Championship was in 1969, and he won his first title the following year. Winning the first ever series of the BBC's Pot Black in 1969 made him instantly recognisable and Reardon and John Spencer were the first two men to capitalise on the snooker boom of the early 1970s.

A deadly long potter and tactician in his prime, he played seventeen World Championship matches without defeat and won the title four years in succession. When the world rankings were introduced in 1976, Reardon was the first number one, retaining that position until 1981/1982.

Carwyn James Junior Sportsman of the Year: Aaron Ramsey

Caerphilly-born teenage football sensation Aaron Ramsey (17) plays for Arsenal, following a £5m transfer from Cardiff City this summer. Ramsey was the youngest ever Cardiff player at the age of 16, breaking the previous record set by current Wales coach John Toshack.

Ramsey's talent was first spotted when his mother took him to a football session in Caerphilly run by the Urdd Welsh language youth movement. Gary Lewis, who was sports officer for the Urdd at the time, said Ramsey was only six so was too young to play. But his mother brought him back the following year and, with Mr Lewis also coaching youngsters at Cardiff City, he was soon snapped up by the Bluebirds.

Carwyn James Young Sportswoman of the Year: Amy Boulden

Golfer Amy Boulden (15) from Llandudno has risen through the ranks of the Welsh Girls squad and has been included in the full Welsh Ladies squad for the first time this year.

Boulden, from the Llandudno (Maesdu) club, played a key role in the Welsh victory at the Home Internationals in the summer - only the second time in 98 years that Wales had won the title. She has also earned selection for the Great Britain and Ireland squad.