Sonya Ellis

Head Coach

Sonya is the Director of Coaching and Founder of South West Athletics Academy. Athletics is her passion and she has a core fundamental belief in inclusiveness as a core value of the academy.
Sonya has been involved in athletics for over 30 years first as a junior athlete and then reaching regional level. When competing she also became an assistant coach and team manager. Since then she has thrown herself into coaching, team managing and becoming a mentor for many developing athletes and coaches. She is also a qualified athletics official as a starter and marksman.

Sonya is a very highly qualified coach and regularly attends sessions as part of England Athletics National Coach Mentor Programme. She is qualified to level 4 in combined events (sprints, hurdles, high jump, long jump, middle distance, shot, discus, javelin and pole vault) plus is Level 3 in middle distance and level 2 for all events (sprints and hurdles, jumps, throws, middle distance and working with children). She also has an NVQ 3 in Caring for Children and Young People.

Sonya also takes great satisfaction in mentoring coaches working with South West Athletics Academy and really encourages them to develop their skills and provides lots of opportunities to learn new skills by working with many different groups and age ranges.

She takes huge personal satisfaction from seeing athletes develop and grow in confidence and this has led to her developing the pathway core values of the academy which are Participation, Potential and Performance.


  • I am the Head Coach and mentor for all the coaches that work for South West Athletics Academy
  • I am a qualified Level 4 Combined events coach and Level 3 middle distance and Level 2 Jumps, throws, sprints and hurdles, middle distance and children in athletics.
  • I have an NVQ3 in Caring for Children and Young People
  • I am Head Coach for the University of Exeter Athletics Club
  • I coach regularly at Taunton Athletics club and coach athletes plus mentor a number of club coaches
  • I support athletes, coaches and other sports with speed, power, core stability and conditioning and technical coaching plus I deliver coaching workshops and holiday programmes.
  • I have particular experience of working with specific groups such as disabled athletes, those with special needs, and young people in care.
  • I am one of the SW Team managers taking teams to various competitions
  • I am a Level 3 official (starter marksman)
  • My current coaching focus is Sprints, hurdles and high jump, long jump and triple jump – but am qualified to coach all athletics events
  • I also currently coach (and have coached) a number of disabled athletes.
  • I recently attended both the London Olympics and Paralympics as a volunteer Gamesmaker on the athletics track as field of Play Team member

If you would like further information please email me at [email protected] or call my mobile on 07745 616852.

Sonya was proud to be a volunteer Gamesmaker for both the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and has had an amazing time at the Games. Her role was to bring athletes from the first call area at the warm up track to final call and then onto the track or field event in the Olympic stadium.
She was also at the test event at the Olympic Stadium as the head coach for the University of Exeter Athletics Club and then the Team Manager for Team South West in the UK School Games. A number of the athletes she has coached have reached national and international levels in events including sprints, hurdles and long jump and two athletes recently getting GB vests for disability sprints events one for visual impairment and one with learning dificulties.
Sonya has gained local, regional and national recognition for her coaching skills by receiving a number of awards including:
Venus Awards 2015 – Semi Finalist
Sports Coach UK – Performance Development Coach of the Year 2013 – Runner Up
Sports Coach UK – Community Coach of the Year 2012 – Runner Up
Express & Echo – Contribution to the Olympics – Runner Up
Active Devon Senior Coach of the Year 2012 – Winner
Active Devon Sportivate Project of Year 2012 (with University of Exeter Athletics Club) – Winner
Express and Echo Coach of the Year 2012 – Winner
Express and Echo – Contribution to Disability Sport 2012 – Runner Up

Express and Echo 2017 – best sporting moment – runner up ( for dasaibility festival)

Devon Awards 2017 – contribution to inclusive sport finalist

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