by Julie Kissick
TWO time Commonwealth Games bronze medal winner Stephen Jenkins was inducted into the University of South Wales’ Hall of Fame at a ceremony in Cardiff.
The retired table tennis star is a psychology graduate from what was the University of Glamorgan, (now USW), and is now a full-time coach for Table Tennis Wales.
He was quick to acknowledge to the 120-strong audience the part his parents played in supporting his ambitions, which resulted in him becoming British team champion and British singles bronze medalist.
“This is a real honour for me. It’s up there with my Commonwealth medals, especially to be inducted in the Hall of Fame alongside a sporting legend like Nigel Walker
“I’m immensely grateful to USW for all they’ve done for me and to be given this level of recognition is really special.
“But I couldn’t have achieved any of it without support, especially from my parents and now from my wife and others who helped me along the way.
“Being awarded something like this makes all the lonely visits to airports all over the world worthwhile.”
His wife and his father took to Twitter to express their pride at the recognition of his achievements and being a ‘role model in sporting excellence’.
Proud moment to see my son having such a prestigious award#brilliant https://t.co/E5V9rGUMJl
— Norman Jenkins (@clintsterone) 11 May 2018
Jenkins was honoured at the university’s second Sport Recognition Awards, which acknowledges the sporting achievements of the students, key partners and alumni of the University of South Wales.
This year he helped coach the Wales table tennis team at the Commonwealth Games on Australia’s Gold Coast.
Among them was 11-year-old sensation Anna Hursey, the youngest athlete at the Games.
She beat Uganda’s Halima Nambozo 4-0 in her opening group match, but lost 4-0 to Malaysia’s Li Sian Alice Chang – ranked 126 places above her – in her second group game to miss out on a place in the last 32.
“She’s an incredible girl, so humble and so focused and mentally strong for someone so young,” said Jenkins.
He represented Wales at four Commonwealth Games, in Manchester in 2002, Melbourne in 2006, Delhi in 2010 and Glasgow in 2014.
USW Director of Sport, Dr Tudor Williams, said: “The University of South Wales’ Sport Hall of Fame was started last year to celebrate and recognise the inspirational achievements of our alumni.
“As a nominee, a recipient must have successfully participated or coached at a senior international standard in their sport.
“The first person to be inducted was Olympian and Welsh rugby International, Nigel Walker.
“This year inducting someone of the sporting stature of Stephen Jenkins into our Hall of Fame enables us to again honour our alumni and provide another fantastic role model for our students.
“This is the second time the University has run awards on this scale and the standard of student achievement, both academic and performance, has been superb.
“What has also been demonstrated here this evening is the unique sense of camaraderie among students, staff, and those partners who work with us. We’re very proud of the relationships we build at USW.”