New S4C documentary follows Team Wales athletes as they prepare for the Commonwealth Games
A new S4C documentary profiles five different members of Team Wales as they prepare to represent their nation in the Birmingham Commonwealth Games which gets underway on Thursday.
A total of 201 athletes will represent Wales in 15 different sports over the next couple of weeks and Cymry’r Gemau, which will be broadcast at 9.00pm this evening, follows discus thrower Aled Siôn Davies, triathlete Non Stanford, boxing twins Garan and Ioan Croft and Team Wales captain, lawn bowler Anwen Butten as they prepare for the 22nd staging of the games.
The programme focuses on the dedication required to reach the elite level of sport and discovers what motivates these five athletes in very different disciplines to devote their lives to reaching their sporting goals.
Anwen Butten, from Lampeter, is representing Wales in lawn bowls for the sixth time this year – the first female to reach this special milestone.
Working full time as a specialist nurse treating patients with cancer of the head and neck, bowls serves as a passion and an escape for her, and the film captures the moment when she discovers she has been picked as Captain of Team Wales in Birmingham.
“I never, ever thought I would be captain,” said Anwen. “I just turn up, play bowls and do my best for Wales. Not in my wildest dreams did I think I would have the honour and privilege of being the captain.
“The target is to win a gold medal. I have a chance of winning two gold medals, and that would be the pinnacle. I just want to do my best for Wales and for us, as a team, to make Wales proud.”
Aled Siôn Davies is a seven-time World champion, eight-time European champion and threetime Paralympic champion. But there is one competition the famous discus thrower from Bridgend has not won – a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games.
Aled was captain of Wales in Glasgow in 2014, but the disappointment of losing out on gold is what drives him now.
Aled said: “Being captain was unbelievable, and something that’s so close to my heart. I wanted to show everyone and lead by example, so there was a lot of pressure on me. Everyone put the medal around my neck before we’d even got on the plane.
“But when I came second in Glasgow, I saw that as a defeat because I was the world number one. I had everything I needed to win that competition, but what let me down was myself, and thinking that no one could beat me.
“Now, I’m in the best shape I’ve ever been and I’m going there to break a world record in a Wales jersey.”
Competing for the first time in the boxing ring this year are twins from Crymych, Ioan and Garan Croft.
Both have been boxing since the age of six and now represent Wales and Great Britain across Europe. But with Ioan competing as a welterweight and Garan as a lightmiddleweight, the brothers will not face up against each other – and for good reason.
Ioan said: “We do everything together. Training, travelling, living, eating. The only thing we haven’t done is box competitively against each other.
That’s one thing that will never happen because our mum will never speak to us again!
“We have a chance now to show people what we can do. Hearing the anthem in Birmingham will be incredible.”
Competing in the Games for the last time will be triathlete, Non Stanford.
During a very successful career, Non has won the World Triathlon Series, competed in the Olympic Games and been the captain of Wales at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. But this year’s games have a special personal significance for her.
“Triathlon is absolutely bonkers,” said Non. “It’s bonkers because it’s really long. It’s not a job, it’s a lifestyle.
“I went to university in Birmingham, so I’m really excited to go back. That’s where I started triathlon in 2009, so it feels like it’ll come full circle for me when I represent Wales at the Commonwealth, I hope I can get a medal there to complete the perfect story.”
Cymry’r Gemau is broadcast on Tuesday 26 July, 9.00 with English Subtitles and is also available on demand on S4C Clic, iPlayer and other platforms.
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