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Watch: The rousing words inspiring Team Wales at the Commonwealth Games

28 Jul 2022 4 minute read
Clip from the ‘Rise’ video (Credit: Team Wales)

As the Commonwealth Games get underway in Birmingham this evening, members of Team Wales will have the words of a stirring poem ringing in their ears.

Titled, Rise, the words are beautifully voiced by Hollywood star and written by poet Eurig Salisbury.

It’s hoped it will inspired the Welsh athletes to rise to even greater heights in their pursuit of Commonwealth Games glory.

Eurig Salisbury explained how he came to write the words after speaking to many of the athletes about what it meant to them to represent Wales.

“I was asked to write a poem as part of Team Wales campaign for the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham,” he said. “So I met up with them on on Zoom to get an understanding of what it means to be part of a Team Wales.

“One of the things that struck me was was this word passionate. It came up time and time again. And it was obviously very important to the team and to the athletes, this idea of representing Wales on the international stage. But also of course, you know, these are professional people so they are removed to a certain extent, from what we as supporters feel.

“As supporters I’m very aware of the fact that whatever sport you’re watching, you get swept up in it. And you feel that passion all the time, but they as professional athletes, they have to check their emotions, they have to pull back, and they have to be in control of that.

“So there were two things, that passion but also that idea of controlling it. I started off by trying to put myself in the athletes’ shoes imagining what it feels perhaps to them to be there at that moment of truth, wherever they are, with the crowd around them, and it came down to this feeling of being at once present right in the arena, focused on the task at hand, but also having this ability to step out of the fray of the furnace and to rise above anything else that’s going on.

“That gave me the title of the poem ‘Rise’, which also went well with the strapline ‘summit of aspiration’. So I started to write about the athletes’ mind being able to dislocate if you like, to a quiet place, like a mountain top. ‘Take a second now, before you go on, look how far you’ve come, masters of control steadfast focused and true, catch your breath, will us to new heights too’.”


Athletes of these Games,
heads of all faculties,
you’re the stuff of legends.

In Arthur’s hall of heroes,
you’d sit with one
whose restless toes tapped

the boards: Sgilti Swiftfoot,
who strode not the trodden tracks
but the tips of reeds and branches,

none of which ever bent,
let alone broke, beneath his heel.
So it is your studied stare,

fixed as a falcon’s,
lifts you in a second above the boom
and bark of the crowd to a place

of heather, rarefied air,
and volcanic rock, where
aspirations form like summits.

Take a second now, before
you go on, look
how far you’ve come.

From our valley floor
your ascents thrill, but these
are punishing terrains,

gaps and halfway stations
dotted with cairns relentlessly
assembled, stone by stone,

by past heroes, scratched messages
of hope from old wayfinders
on paths to new peaks.

A lifetime of reconnaissance
has brought you here, where the heart
taps on the seesawing pressure gauge

of the mind. The primordial names
of other-worldly warriors –
Heed son of Rigour,

Femur daughter of Force –
sing in you still, but these
are your own stories,

alive with alternate endings,
Arthur’s extras recast
as leads in a rising glare.

Masters of control,
steadfast, focused, and true,
catch our breath,

will us to new heights too.

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