A DEDICATED sports coach responsible for turning Chester into a breeding ground for young handballing talent has collected a national coaching award.
Chester-based handball and multi-skills coach Gary Kelsall was named Children’s Sports Coach of the Year at the UK Coaching Awards in London, where he was described by judges as “the heartbeat of handball in the Chester area”.
The judging panel recognised Gary’s achievements in helping Chester to provide seven of the 32-strong England Under 17s squad that travelled to Sweden to compete in the Summer Games.
His excellent work with the Deva Handball Club led to them gaining access to the National League One for the first time and he also led the Tarporley Junior Club to the National Schools Finals.
Gary, who also works with diversity projects in and around the city and helped to increase participation in the fast-growing sport by coordinating the Chester schools handball competition, was pleased to receive such praise.
He said: “Rubbing shoulders with some of the coaches in the room on the night was brilliant.
“It was an achievement for me to make the shortlist, so I was delighted to win.
“I was always into my sport, but had never been involved in handball until my three sons started playing and it went from there.”
He added: “What I want to do now is to ensure that the handball teams in the area are sustainable and that more people keep getting involved, as obviously I can’t coach everyone!”
Gary fought off stiff competition from trampoline and cheerleading coach Emily Morritt and multi-sports coach Anthony Palmer to scoop first prize.
Anyone interested in joining one of the region’s many handball teams can do so by emailing Gary direct via email@example.com