Christian Malcolm joins the hunt for a BBC Sports Unsung Hero in Wales

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Welsh athletics star Christian Malcolm today (Wednesday, September 21), joined the campaign to urge everyone to nominate their BBC Sports Unsung Hero 2011 in Wales – an award to honour individuals from the world of grassroots sport.

The Newport-born 100m and 200m runner was at the Cardiff International Sports Stadium to launch the award in Wales. Christian is a former World Junior Championships double gold medallist and won Bronze in last year’s Commonwealth Games in Delhi. He will be competing for the UK as part of Team GB at the London 2012 Olympics.

Christian knows how important these unsung heroes are to keeping local sport alive. He credits his own unsung hero Jock Anderson – his first sprints coach – with helping kick-off his phenomenal sporting career.

“He really believed that this boy from Newport could be one of the best sprinters in the world and he took me to those levels,” says Christian. “Jock coached Newport Harriers and he also coached my older cousin, the world class sprinter Kevin Williams and took quite a lot of guys to high levels in the sport.

“I wouldn’t say I was a bad boy when I was younger but Jock really helped keep me focused with the little talks he would give me. He’s the kind of person who doesn’t mix his words, so when he says something you really do take note.”

BBC Sports Unsung Hero is one of the categories at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Awards, which will be held at MediaCityUK in Salford on 22 December. The Unsung Hero Award recognises and rewards outstanding contribution by individuals at the grassroots level of local sport and is now in its ninth year.

A winner is chosen in each BBC English Region and in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland and the Wales Unsung Hero winner will be announced in early December. Each winner then gets the chance to join the sporting stars of today at BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2011 where the overall BBC Sports Unsung Hero winner is announced.

Across the UK people are invited to nominate someone who has made a difference to their community through sport.

Nominations should be made for people who go the extra mile to change the lives of others through sport and who deserve to be recognised for their selfless work on the part of others.

Nominees should be people who, on a voluntary basis, prepare facilities, roll the pitch, coach the juniors, run local sports leagues or work behind the scenes so that sport can be played and enjoyed by people throughout the UK.

Once the nomination process has been completed, a shortlist of nominees in each area is chosen by a panel made up of BBC regional and nations’ sports staff, local sporting figures and other independent community figures, with a winner being picked by that judging panel.

Last year’s overall winner for Wales was Lisa Jones, Junior football coach from Penydarren Boys & Girls Football Club in Merthyr. She has been coaching for eight years and coaches three teams in her spare time, working with over 100 children per week. “A true inspiration to all who know her, children love her, she never puts herself first and is always thinking of others,” said her nominee for the award.

Geoff Williams, BBC Wales Head of Sport says: “Unsung Hero is one of the key awards in the sporting year in Wales, and it is always a privilege to shine the spotlight on people who work so hard, often for decades, on behalf of others. This is a chance for their valiant and valuable efforts to be recognised.”

Barbara Slater, Director of BBC Sport, says: “The BBC is delighted to recognise the important, and often unheralded, work of those whose selfless efforts so often shape the sporting success and enjoyment of so many different individuals and teams.

“The BBC Sports Unsung Hero awards are important because they celebrate the commitment, enthusiasm and energy of people up and down the country who give something back to their community through sport.”

Nominations for the BBC Sports Unsung Hero Award 2011 can be made at bbc.co.uk/sportwales and bbc.co.uk/newyddion using a printable form.

There is also a low-cost phone number people can call to request nomination forms – 03703 500 700. Standard geographic charges from landlines and mobiles will apply and calls may be recorded for training. The line is available between 9.30am and 7.30pm Monday – Friday.

Nomination forms are also available from BBC Local Radio stations and from BBC Wales in Cardiff and Bangor. Nominations can be made up until midnight on Sunday 30 October.

Social media is also playing a greater role in this year’s BBC Sports Unsung Hero campaign. A dedicated Facebook page has been created at www.facebook.com/BBCSportUnsungHero and information and updates will also be posted on the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Twitter feed @BBCSPOTY.

BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2011 will be broadcast live on BBC One and BBC One HD on 22 December


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