Wales

Pride of Sports Awards: Gareth Thomas in tears as parents surprise him

Gareth Thomas Image copyright Lia Toby/PA Wire
Image caption Gareth Thomas said he had been afraid he would not be accepted after revealing he was HIV positive

Rugby star Gareth Thomas was left in tears when his parents surprised him on stage while he received an award.

Thomas, 45, was honoured for his role as a sporting inspiration, at the Mirror Pride of Sports Awards held in London on Thursday night.

He hugged his mother and father after receiving tributes from Sir Elton John, former rugby star Jason Leonard and ex-Olympic swimmer Mark Foster.

Thomas revealed he was HIV positive in September.

The former Wales captain, from Sarn in Bridgend, looked stunned as awards host Ben Shephard announced Thomas's parents on to the stage.

Thomas's mother Yvonne joked he had been a "pain" as a child, trying out a number of sports before settling on rugby, something that cost his parents "a fortune".

His father Barry said it had been "very hard" to see his son go through "dark times", but said he was "an inspiration now".

Speaking before the surprise, Thomas said he had been afraid he would not be accepted after revealing he was HIV positive

Image copyright Mirror Pride of Sport Awards 2019
Image caption Gareth Thomas hugged his mother and father onstage

"Having a vulnerability and having a weakness doesn't make you weak and there was a point where I thought it made me weak," he said.

He added: "If you're an honest human being, you're a better human being."

In his tribute, Sir Elton said: "You are an amazing, brave man and you have done so much to change the stigma of HIV and Aids by admitting that you are HIV positive.

"You are a beacon of hope for so many people out there and I think you are the absolute best."

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