Barry gymnastics coach shortlisted for top Sport Wales award

Barry And District News: COACH: Olivia Bryl has been shortlisted for the Young Coach of the Year award. COACH: Olivia Bryl has been shortlisted for the Young Coach of the Year award.

A BARRY gymnastics coach has been shortlisted for the Young Coach of the Year title, as part of the Sport Wales annual awards.

Olivia Bryl could even be named overall Sport Wales Coach of the Year, if she wins her category, in which she is up against netball coach Sarah Goulden and football coach Aaron Evans.

Former Bryn Hafren pupil Olivia will find out if she has won at a presentation ceremony on Wednesday, November 14. "I was shopping when I had the phone call about the nomination," she said.

"I was shocked but pleased at the same time."

Olivia, 24, started gymnastics at Barry’s YMCA when she was just four and a half, and has been coaching with Welsh Gymnastics for the last four years.

"It gives you a nice feeling when someone you have coached achieves something," she said.

"I enjoy working with younger children and making the sport enjoyable for them.

"You spend a lot of hours in the gym and if they are unhappy and don’t enjoy the sport, they are not going to carry on until they are 18."

Over the last 12 months she has trained hundreds of gymnasts, as part of the process of setting up Welsh Gymnastics’ innovative coach and gymnast talent identification programme.

The work has involved selecting gymnasts from school and recreational clubs, who have then been placed into development squads that Olivia personally coaches, alongside supporting the development of identified talented coaches at the national centre.

She is responsible for a small Welsh squad of five to seven-year-olds, who train with her once a month in preparation for the next level of squads at age eight; and this year she has also coached the squad of nine and 10-year-olds to Welsh and British titles.

"I would love to see them go as far as they can," she added.

"A lot of them are very talented and could go a long way."

* The winners of the Sport Wales Coach of the Year awards will be announced at a ceremony at the Sport Wales National Centre, Cardiff, on November 14. The overall Coach of the Year accolade will go to one of the individual category winners.

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