An award-winning cyclist, dubbed the ‘Bradley Wiggins of the veteran cycling circuit,’ has been inaugurated into Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Sports Hall of Fame at the Michael Sobell Sports Centre in Aberdare.
David Sankey, 75, of Aberdare, who underwent knee replacement surgery four years ago, won three Gold medals at the British Championships.
He beat more than 40 cyclists from all over the UK in the Over 75s category - the oldest age group in the championship - winning the pursuit, scratch and points events held at the Wales National Velodrome, Newport.
Mr Sankey said he is delighted and honoured to be included in the Rhondda Cynon Taf Council Sports Hall of Fame and thanked his wife and cycling colleagues for their unstinting support.
He said: “I have been in a privileged position that I get rewarded for doing something that I love and have no intention of giving up just yet!
“I have had so much support over the years, especially from my team, Bush Healthcare CRT, and my wife Catherine.
“I remember getting my first bike - I was 13 and had just got a scholarship to Treforest Technical College. In those days, if you got a scholarship, it was customary for mothers to buy their sons a bike. My bike was a Hercules Clarion.”
Mr Sankey, who ran Sankey’s Cycles in Aberdare, has gone on to compete on the world stage. He picked up Silver in the scratch at the World Championships in Portugal in 2010 and became the 2012 National Champion.
He also achieved three more Silver medals in 2012 on the track at the Track Cycling World Masters and on the road at the British Masters Championship and the British Masters Road Race.
In a glittering career, Mr Sankey has had to overcome a number of serious injuries, including a fractured collarbone.
Each year Mr Sankey travels to Australia for four months to participate in various road races. He is now training in the UK ahead of 2012 National and European cycling events.
Joining him at the special inauguration ceremony into Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Sports Hall of Fame at the Michael Sobell Sports Centre, was his proud family. Also present were some of his long-standing cycling companions.
Cllr Mike Forey and Cllr Steven Bradwick, Labour ward members for Aberdare East, are delighted with the latest addition to the Rhondda Cynon Taf Council Sports Hall of Fame.
Cllr Bradwick said: “David’s cycling achievements are unrivalled in the locality. He has been an inspiration to so many people over the years, proving that leisure really is for life.
“He is a very talented and dedicated sportsman and is a worthy person to be included in the illustrious line-up.”
Cllr Robert Bevan, Cabinet Member for Sustainable Development, Leisure and Tourism, said: “David joins an illustrious list of sports stars at Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Sports Hall of Fame at the Michael Sobell Sports Centre in Aberdare.
“These include Wales rugby legend Dai Morris, Nos Galan Road Races organiser Bernard Baldwin MBE, international athlete Ron Jones and World darts champion Leighton Rees.
“It is only fitting that David Sankey proudly stands among these sporting greats from Rhondda Cynon Taf.”
Leisure for Life is a successful Rhondda Cynon Taf Council campaign that aims to get people of all ages active and undertaking exercise in a bid to improve their health and well-being.
It is all about talking simple steps to make exercise part of your daily routine and reaping the benefits alongside potential weight loss, enhanced fitness, muscle gain or even improved socialisation.
Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Sports Hall of Fame at the Michael Sobell Sports Centre, The Ynys, Aberdare, is situated on the ground floor. Admission is FREE.
For further information on the Sports Hall of Fame or all other facilities and activities available at all of Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s 11 leisure centres visit www.rctcbc.gov.uk/leisure