Identity, Inclusion, Inspiration: A lifetime of achievement for our Tanni

20th Dec 2019

We couldn’t hide our pride when the #SPOTY Lifetime Achievement Award was announced last Sunday evening. A familiar face and one we’re very proud of here at Team Wales…

 

Baroness Grey-Thompson was honoured in front of an A-list audience with millions of people watching eagerly on TV.

Tanni got us thinking about identity, inclusion and inspiration- all the things that we represent and celebrate as Team Wales at the Commonwealth Games.

Tanni has been a massive inspiration for many athletes through the years and has helped put Wales on the world map. Her commitment, performances and passion for Wales and being Welsh has helped elevate our small (but powerful!) nation.

Speaking to the BBC, Tanni said: “Being Welsh is hugely important to me. I genuinely believe that, if I hadn’t been born and brought up in Wales, I wouldn’t have had the support or the career that I did, because of the media in Wales.”

“What I always made sure was when winning in a GB vest that, at the finish, I had a picture taken with a Welsh dragon. I always made sure there was a dragon somewhere pretty close to me at the finish line.”

Tanni frequently highlights the Commonwealth Games as being progressive and inclusive as she relives some proud moments from her career. From integrating para and able-bodied competitions to promoting inclusion and diversity, the Commonwealth Games is the only international multi-sport Games to do this.

“I think we’re lucky that we have things like the Commonwealth Games. It just shows where Wales is in terms of disability sport and how supportive it is of people from all sporting backgrounds." she told BBC Wales Sport.

Baroness Tanni Grey Thompson finished fourth in the 800m race at the Commonwealth Games in Manchester in 2002 and went on to captain Team Wales at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Australia.

When it comes to inspiring a nation, Tanni takes a very modest view of her achievements. One of the most successful para athletes in the UK, she helped carve a path for future disability sport. Over her career she won a total of 16 Paralympic medals, including 11 golds, held over 30 world records and won the London Marathon six times between 1992 and 2002.

Tanni demonstrated that a disability needn’t be a disadvantage when it comes to Sport. Since retiring in 2007, she has continued to champion inclusion and diversity in Sport, taking on roles with The Sports Council for Wales and UK Sport as well as pursuing a Parliamentary career.

"Twenty years ago, Nelson Mandela said sport has the power to change the world. To my friends and family that helped me, thank you for putting up with me."

Llongyfarchiadau Tanni, a diolch o galon.

References:

http://m2002.thecgf.com/Sports/Athletics/News/default.asp?id=488&folder=Athletics

http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/front_page/4542632.stm

https://www.peoplescollection.wales/items/387265

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/sports-personality/50756014