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Youngest Person Ever to Receive President’s Award

FIH Devlopment Manager Gabrielle van Doorn reports on the latest news from the FIH Youth Panel.

On 17 November 18-year-old Bethan Walsh was awarded with the FIH’s President Award. Mrs. Els van Breda Vriesman presented the award to Bethan for her outstanding work as Chair of the FIH Youth Panel. The FIH Youth Panel would have not existed without Bethan’s drive or reached this stage of development without her leadership and guidance.

The FIH Youth Panel was born at the end Year of the Youth World Hockey Festival in Hobart. The participants in the Festival (all in the age group 15-20) stayed in touch and felt that they could do more for the youth hockey world than 'just' being participants of the Global Festival. In Hobart Bethan, was awarded the title 'Global Youth Hockey Promoter 2001' and was instrumental in setting up of This World Youth Panel.

Under her leadership the world panel received official FIH status in 2002.

The current Panel has members from over 40 countries and works on such projects as 'exchange', 'setting up national youth forums', 'pen pals', 'umpiring', 'communication', 'resources' and 'FIH events'.

Bethan is not only active at the international level. In her home country Wales she is a member of the Welsh Hockey Union Council and the WHU Executive Board. In her capacity as the national youth representative she has set up a national youth forum, with 11 members, called Hockey Activators. She organized a skills exchange with other UK countries and is coach and umpire of the U 11s and U 13s. She helped organize a national youth conference as well as providing a revised section on the web site. Even with all these commitments she still finds time to play hockey, and in 2003 she played at school, club and national level (U18)!

Bethan has decided that because of her studies at Oxford University she is no longer able to be the Chairman of the FIH Youth Panel. She will however still remain as a member of the Youth Panel and also fulfill her duties for the Welsh Hockey Union.

Congratulations to an excellent hockey promoter!

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