Andrew Widgery has joined the distinguished list of individuals to be awarded a British Triathlon Gold Pin Award.
The award, that is presented to individuals by the British Triathlon Board, rewards those that have made an outstanding contribution to triathlon and the development of the sport. Ian Howard, former British Triathlon president and current World Triathlon Vice President, presented Andrew with the award.
Andrew became the very first British Triathlon Team Manager in 1986, holding the post for five years. During that time, he also served on the British Triathlon Board and was instrumental in shaping the development of the sport during its early years using his strong business and people skills.
The first few years of his spell as Team Manager came when the European Triathlon Championships were the only international events for national teams, before the introduction of the International Triathlon Union World Championships in 1989.
During that time, he professionalised, as best as he could, a volunteer system where most were paying for themselves to attend events. He worked tirelessly and persistently to ensure British triathletes were on the start line with the best support possible.
His efforts were rewarded by a team that dominated the European events, particularly in the women’s races. Sarah Coope and Sarah Springman were on the top step of the podium ten times between them, with an additional five team golds being won.
In the men’s races, Andrew was Team Manager as Glenn Cook stood on the top step of the podium at a European event in 1987 and won a silver medal at the inaugural ITU Avignon Triathlon World Championships in 1989.
He also supported athletes from other sports transferring into triathlon including Olympic swimmer Robin Brew and Survival of the Fittest World Champion Bernie Shrosbree. He ensured they were given a warm welcome to the sport and helped them find their feet in the British team as full members.
This award moves Andrew from an unsung hero of the sport to his rightful place of being recognised nationally for his efforts in the early years of the sport.
On receiving the award, Andrew said: “What an amazing surprise it was to receive such a prestigious award; I’m deeply humbled by the honour.
“To be team manager to this particular group of athletes was more than a privilege. I was so very proud; we were like a family who I cared for deeply.
“When any of our team were on the podium, which as time went on just became a regular event, it never ever failed to bring tears of pride to my eyes.”