Athletes gear up for Commonwealth Games

Thursday 28th July 2022 1:30 pm
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Natalie Powell
Natalie Powell (B&R )

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The Commonwealth Games begins with the opening ceremony today (July 28) before finishing on Monday, August 8 when the closing ceremony will take place.

The opportunity to represent Wales in international competition is rare but every four years, the Commonwealth Games presents a unique opportunity for elite athletes to don the red of Cymru. 201 athletes across 15 sports will make the short journey to Birmingham for the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

The team also includes the biggest para-athletes contingent of 19 among six sports: athletics, swimming, lawn bowls, triathlon, cycling and table tennis.

Team Wales enjoyed a record-breaking haul at the Gold Coast in Australia four years ago. With 36 medals - 10 golds, 12 silvers and 14 bronze - the class of 2018 eclipsed previous leading efforts at Auckland 1990 and Glasgow 2014, and finished seventh in the medal table.

Judo star Natalie Powell, from Beulah, is one of Team Wales’ most successful and experienced athletes. The Commonwealth champion of 2014 will be looking to defend her title in Birmingham this month. Judo was previously excluded in the 2018 edition in the Gold Coast but has now been reinstated as a core sport.

Powell will compete in the -78kg class, which will commence on day six of the Games - Wednesday, August 3.

Hockey star Phoebe Richards will represent Wales once again in this year’s Commonwealth Games. Richards, who was born and raised in Knighton, has been selected to represent Wales for her third successive games.

Phoebe Richards
Phoebe Richards (B&R )

Richards, who has 120 caps to her name, will be one of the senior players in the squad. Her cap haul across the team is only bettered by captain Leah Wilkinson, who has played for her country 170 times.

In what is sure to be an exciting encounter, Wales will take on England in the women’s hockey group stages at 11am on day seven of the Games - Thursday, August 4.

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