Dr Paul Thomas named as new Sport Wales chair

Dr Paul Thomas
Dr Paul Thomas worked on projects for UK Sport and Sport England

The Welsh Government has appointed Dr Paul Thomas as successor to Laura McAllister as chair of Sport Wales, deputy minister for culture, sport and tourism Ken Skates has announced.

Thomas was shortlisted for ex-Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson's 'most influential leader' award of 2015.

A "new approach," to community sport will be among Thomas' priorities.

The Welsh Government wants people to "become hooked on sport for life".

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Skates said: "We want to break down the barriers to participation in sport and physical activity and create opportunities for people of all ages and abilities."

A Welsh Government statement said Thomas has more than 30 years experience working in community development, strategic leadership and sport inclusion roles, "often in socially disadvantaged areas".

Skates added: "I am confident Paul's qualities, experience and commitment will help the Welsh Government deliver a more physically active and successful sporting nation."

Thomas said: "Having grown up in the south Wales valleys and played sport most of my life I am certain of the benefits sport and physical activity can have on people's health and wellbeing."

McAllister's time as chair was due to end in January, 2016 at the end of her second three-year term.

But four applicants were deemed unsuitable and she remains in place until the end of March when Thomas will take charge.