A DINAS POWYS man that has dedicated almost all of his spare time to officiating triathlons has been presented with a prestigious 'Unsung Hero of Sport' award.
Tom Roberts, of Heol y Cawl, was presented with the honour at the annual Welsh Sports Hall of Fame Awards Dinner at the Millennium Stadium last Friday, June 6.
Tom, Welsh Triathlon’s Director of Rules and Tech, said he was “gobsmacked” when they announced he had won the award.
“My heart was going at about 1000 beats a minute when I received the award,” he said.
“It was just incredible looking out into the audience and seeing the likes of Dai ‘Splash’ Davies, Nicole Cooke, Michaela Breeze and John Disley, who set up the London Marathon.”
He said that he first became interested in triathlons when he was at college.
“When I left there I went to work in a sports shop and triathlon was in its infancy at that point, in the 1980’s,” he said.
“The big start came for me when I was fundraising so I could do volunteer work in America and I did a sponsored triathlon.”
Over the past 25 years Tom Roberts has devoted much of his spare time to ensuring that Triathlon is accessible to all, being involved in Triathlon in Wales for the past 21 years, and playing a proactive role in guiding and developing the sport through the many varied roles he undertakes in his spare time.
As the Director for Rules and Tech on the Welsh Triathlon Board, Tom has devoted long unpaid hours to ensuring that the sport of Triathlon has a robust strategy and he always makes time to answer any questions or queries that the wider board may have.
As a qualified Continental Technical Officer, Tom will be found most weekends throughout the Triathlon season as a volunteer officiating at events, from the smallest to the largest, ensuring that rules are adhered to and the health and safety of participants is always at the forefront.
One of his proudest moments was being chosen to work as a Technical Official at the 2012 Olympics in London.
In July he is also set to be a ‘Clydesider’ volunteer at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games in July.
Tom manages to pack all of his work officiating triathlons in as well as managing a technician job at Techniquest in Cardiff, where he teaches children about science and nature.
In case he has any spare time, Tom is also known as Wales Rocket Man for his enthusiasm for all things that go vertical and whoosh and is the Welfare Officer of the FOG (Fins Over Gwent) Rocketry Club since 2005.