MELISSA Anderson – the driving force behind Valleys Gymnastics Academy – is in the running for a special honour in the South Wales Argus Sports Awards.

Anderson has been nominated for the Outstanding Services to Sport in Gwent accolade in recognition of her years of dedication to the sport she clearly loves.

Chepstow Racecourse hosts this year’s awards ceremony on May 22 when the great and good of Gwent sport will be recognised for their sterling work in the region.

Anderson’s Valleys Gymnastics Academy (VGA) scooped the Community Club of the Year gong at the inaugural awards in 2018.

“Melissa is 100% dedicated to gymnastics across Gwent and further afield,” said Nick Gordon, who nominated Anderson for the outstanding services award this time around.

“She is the founder and managing director of Valleys Gymnastics Academy and is a UKCC Level 4 coach.

“She dedicates over 70 hours per week to sport in both a paid and voluntary capacity, going way beyond her role to provide opportunities for children, young people and adults in participation, volunteering and coaching.

“Aside from her role at VGA, Melissa holds several other voluntary roles, including two for Welsh Gymnastics – South Central Regional Lead for gymnastics and Women's Artistic Panel Lead.

“Melissa has been instrumental in growing VGA from less than 100 members in 2011 to its current membership of 2,900.

“In the last two years Melissa has brought two new clubs into the VGA family, with the aim of sustaining and modernising their offers.

“This has been achieved, with both clubs growing in reputation and size.

“VGA now operates across five local authorities, including Caerphilly and Torfaen, and the club has an outstanding reputation, providing inclusive and top-level services for all ages and abilities.”

He continued: “Melissa is the key driver in this and a fantastic role model to the club's young coaches and participants.

“Melissa is driven to engage as many young people as possible for the health, wellbeing and social benefits which sport participation can bring.

“Her enthusiasm, passion and commitment are second to none.

“Melissa was a gymnast as a child and has never left the sport, recognising the huge role which coaches and volunteers play in engaging children and young people at whatever level!”

VGA was named Welsh Gymnastics Club of the Year in 2016 and has also been runner-up in the British Gymnastics Club of the Year award for the last three years.

Gordon added: “The impact which Melissa and this club has is outstanding.

“Melissa has coached numerous gymnasts to regional and Welsh squad level and several gymnasts from the club have represented Wales.

“Melissa has also developed a team of coaches who have coached gymnasts to high standards, for example, there are current men's artistic gymnasts in Welsh and British squads, TeamGym gymnasts who are part of the British zonal squads and one of the club's disability gymnasts is representing Great Britain at the Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi this year.

“Whilst Melissa coaches several high-level gymnasts, she has also created a structure which enables and supports others in doing the same, creating a culture of high performance in all areas."

* Nominations for the South Wales Argus Sports Awards can be made by visiting – the closing date is Monday, March 18.