Nigel Walker, National Director at the English Institute of Sport (EIS), received the first ever Sky Media Leadership in Sport Award at the Sporting Equals British Ethnic Diversity Sports Awards (BEDSAs) on Saturday (6 April) evening.
The BEDSAs recognise and celebrate the contributions made by black and minority ethnic communities. The Awards help drive change in the sport sector where more role models from more communities in more sports are a priority to increase participation.
The awards, this year held at Hilton T5 at Heathrow Airport, are run by Sporting Equals, who promote ethnic diversity in sport and physical education. The recognition of hard work and dedication stimulates interest and unearths talent on and off the field of play.
Nigel joined the EIS in 2010 from BBC Wales, where he was Head of Change and Internal Communications.
— English Institute of Sport (@eis2win) April 6, 2019
His sporting career began as a hurdler where he represented Great Britain. After retiring from athletics, Nigel pursued a career in rugby, making his debut for Wales against Ireland in March 1993, the first of 17 caps. At club level, he played for his hometown city of Cardiff between 1992-1998, scoring 392 points in 121 appearances.
While still playing rugby but with one eye on his future, Nigel took an MBA, a decision that paved the way for future success in sports administration.
Nigel has worked closely with Sporting Equals for a number of years and has been instrumental in supporting the organisation’s Leaderboard Academy.
It works to to develop ex athletes and professionals to take up positions in the boardrooms of sport. Nigel has volunteered his time to support the Leaderboard candidates by sharing his insight and experience in sports leadership and how he was able to transform from an athlete to a senior sports administrator.
Nigel said: “I’m very proud to receive this award. I passionately believe in opening up opportunities for all in the sport industry and if I can help or encourage people to pursue their dreams – then I’m only too glad to do so.
Standing ovation for a fellow Welshmen in England tonight @NigelWalkerEIS as he recieves an award by @SkyMediaUK for Leadership in Sport 🌟 🎉 #BEDSA2019 @BEDSAofficial @SportingEquals @Sport_Wales @BMESportCymru pic.twitter.com/AV8murMj17
— A L ! A B D ! (@AliAbdi_) April 6, 2019
“There is still work to be done on improving diversity and it needs the right level of attention. Sport can have such a positive impact on those involved and wider society, I’d argue that it is more important than ever.
“I’m proud to lead the EIS – an organisation that is an integral part of the UK High Performance System. Our world leading staff work tirelessly on a daily basis with athletes and our Olympic and Paralympic sports. By providing wide-ranging expert support services and impacting on performance, the EIS is contributing to ensuring Great Britain continues to excel on the world stage.
“Sporting Equals do a wonderful job and I’d like to thank them for this recognition. It has been my pleasure to support them, I look forward to continuing that relationship for years to come.”
The evening celebrated success across the sport industry, both at elite and grassroots levels, winners on the night included Manchester City footballer Raheem Sterling.