Belfast Telegraph

Friday 31 October 2014

Gatland and Yarnold proud of awards

Warren Gatland "over the moon" to receive OBE

Wales rugby union coach Warren Gatland and Winter Olympic gold medallist Lizzy Yarnold have revealed their pride at being recognised in the Queen's Birthday Honours List.

Gatland said he felt "proud and humbled" to receive an OBE while Yarnold said she hoped her MBE would encourage more young people across Britain to take up winter sports.

Paralympic champions Kelly Gallagher and her guide Charlotte Evans also each received the MBE, while the nation's most successful female golfer Laura Davies is made a Dame.

There is a CBE for England women's cricket captain Charlotte Edwards who led her team to back-to-back Ashes series wins against Australia, and an MBE for her vice-captain Jenny Gunn.

Four-time London 2012 Paralympic gold medallist David Weir paid a rich tribute to his lifelong coach Jenny Archer, who receives the MBE, while Leeds Rhinos captain Kevin Sinfield and motor racing star Dario Franchitti also receive MBEs.

Gatland, currently in South Africa where he is preparing his side to take on the Springboks this weekend, described his award for services to rugby as "a massive honour".

He added: "I'm absolutely over the moon to be asked to receive that. It's great and I'm very proud and sort of humbled.

"It's been a bit of an emotional rollercoaster. As a Kiwi I know they did their queen's birthday honours list a couple of weeks ago and that has a real New Zealand flavour. To receive something in the UK as a Kiwi is pretty special."

Yarnold's MBE caps a stellar season for the Kent 25-year-old in which she was crowned overall World Cup champion before blitzing her rivals by almost a second to win Olympic women's skeleton gold in Sochi.

"My hands started shaking as soon as I saw the envelope was from the Palace," said Yarnold.

"Getting an MBE feels so different to the awards you achieve as an athlete because those are the ones you have been working towards day after day in training.

"My gold medal has helped give winter sports in Britain more exposure and hopefully this will continue with this latest honour."

Gallagher and Evans combined to win Great Britain's first gold medal on snow at an Olympic or Paralympic Games when they triumphed in the women's visually-impaired Super-G in Sochi.

Gallagher said: "Without sounding arrogant, I know how much work we put into this and it is really nice to be recognised by people from outside our sport."

Weir, himself awarded the CBE in 2013 in the wake of his quadruple London triumph, said he owed all his success to Archer, whose MBE is for her services to disabled sport.

He told Press Association Sport: "It is about time and I am delighted for her and I am sure she will relish the day. I wouldn't have won any of my medals without Jenny."

In addition, Swansea City director Gwilyn Joseph receives the MBE while there are OBEs for Malcolm Morley, the former chairman of the British Wrestling Association, and Barbara Slater, director of BBC Sport, for services to sports broadcasting.

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