Tory Senedd member credits Team GB for Welsh success at the Olympics
A Tory Senedd member has credited Team GB for the success of Welsh athletes at the Olympic games.
Tom Giffard, the Shadow Minister for Culture, Tourism and Sport, suggested the likes Lauren Price who won gold in boxing at the Tokyo games, or Hannah Mills’ who did so in sailing, are “thriving” because they “compete as Team GB”.
The MS for South Wales West also hit out at what he called “separatists” who believe that Wales should compete as an independent nation.
Jim Parc Nest, the former Archdruid has argued that athletes from Wales to sing the Welsh anthem and to fly the Red Dragon when they win Olympic gold. But he does not think it will happen until Wales gains independence.
Under the current system, when Welsh athletes win Olympic gold, God Save the Queen, which is also the national anthem for England, is played, and the Union Jack is flown at the medal ceremony.
In an article for the conservative-leaning Gwydir website, Tom Giffard said: “Now, the last thing I want to do is a be a typical politician and make a political point out of all of this, but I think there’s a valid one to be made here.
“The truth is that there has just been far too much Welsh sporting success on the international stage for it to be purely coincidental.
“Those of us that seem desperate at the moment to rip our country apart with their calls for ‘independence’ fail to consider the sporting ramifications for these successes.
“Our athletes are thriving at the Olympic Games, because they compete as ‘Team GB’ and not in spite of it.”
He added: “Since those games in 1996, £1.2bn has been invested in the pursuit of Olympic success for Team GB since the introduction of lottery funding over 24 years ago.
“The UK Government’s recent announcement that £232 million will be invested to back aspiring Team GB and Paralympics GB athletes.
“£77.4 million a year to UK Sport which is an increase from the £54 million a year baseline government funding UK Sport received for Tokyo 2020 – a rise of 44 percent. The ‘Union bonus’ for sport is clear.
“Welsh sport has benefitted from unprecedented levels of funding from UK sport which allows prospective athletes to focus solely on their sporting discipline, many of whom would not have been at the Games this summer without it.
“The National Lottery alone invested around £21million to support Welsh sport in 2021/22, with £9.9 million of that supporting elite sport.
“Some of these separatists pine for a Wales that doesn’t exist. We’re proud to be Welsh, and we’re proud to be British, and that’s no contradiction!
“And so we should continue to compete as Team GB, because the alternative arguments, whether they be financial, sporting or indeed cultural just don’t stack up.”