Wales has already contributed to Great Britain’s early medal collection at the Olympic Games in Tokyo when Lauren Williams won a silver medal in taekwondo on Monday. For Williams, an Olympic medal was the realisation of a dream that began in her local club in Caerphilly, Devils Martial Arts Club. Graham Thomas looks at the Olympic roots of the Welsh competitors in Japan. All Olympic dreams start with a more local idea and for Jake Hayward it was wanting to be the fastest kid at Llanishen Fach Primary School. Twelve years on and Jake still wants to cross the line first.
By Paul Jones British & Irish Lions Head Coach, Warren Gatland, will be keeping his fingers crossed that the in-form Dan Biggar will pass the return-to-play protocols so he can retain his place in the starting line-up for the second test against South Africa on Saturday. The Wales fly-half suffered a knock to the head in the first test last week and will now be assessed by an independent concussion consultant in the coming days in order to be given the green light to return to action. In other Welsh news, Taulupe Faletau is added to the bench and will win his fifth Lions Test cap should he enter the fray.
The proverb that good things come to those who wait could have been written for Alys Thomas. On Tuesday lunchtime at the age of 30 – once considered veteran territory in the world of top class swimming – the Swansea-based swimmer will make her Olympic debut. When she steps into the arena in Tokyo, a lot of memories will float through the mind of the current Commonwealth Games 200m butterfly champion.
Wales’ Lauren Williams added her name to Team GB’s Olympic taekwondo medal roll of honour in Tokyo on Monday but fell fractionally short in her attempt to strike gold. Twenty-four hours after team mate Bradly Sinden finished runner-up in the -68kg weight division, Welsh wonder Williams captured her own silver medal at -67kg. Like Sinden, too, the 22-year-old was within touching distance of becoming Olympic champion in a dramatic contest with Croatia’s number one seed, Matea Jelic.
By Tom Prosser “To be a Welshman working in Wales makes me the proudest man in the country,” those are the words of the Welsh Fire women’s head coach Mark O’Leary who is aiming for success in the new Hundred competition. O’Leary took the brave decision to leave Cardiff Met last year after a 20-year association with the university, he has since gone on to be the head coach of both Western Storm and the Welsh Fire women’s team.
As the song says, the road is long with many a winding turn that leads us to who knows where. Two former Ospreys teammates are at the peak of their respective sports this summer, but no-one could have predicted the road that took them there, as Owen Morgan reports. In May 2014 two promising rugby players from Swansea were amongst seven young hopefuls handed development contracts with the Ospreys. The two 18-year-olds were making their first steps towards their dreams of becoming professional sportsmen and representing their country at the highest international level in their sport. However, just a year later Adam Beard and Harrison Walsh - who had also played together for Swansea schoolboys - were to take very different paths towards their sporting dreams.
Swansea City have turned their attention to new managerial targets – including former Chelsea assistant Jody Morris – after reportedly being snubbed by QPR’s John Eustace. The Swans are in a mess of their own making after parting company with former head coach Steve Cooper last week and revisiting links with Eustace, who was on their shortlist when Cooper was appointed two years ago. But despite interviewing the 41-year-old, Eustace has informed Swansea he is staying in west London.
By Paul Jones Life really could begin at 55 for Welsh golfer Stephen Dodd who is eyeing a lucrative new career in the USA after winning his first senior major title. Cardiff-born Dodd - who lifted the Senior Open trophy at Sunningdale on Sunday - is considering cashing in on the highly profitable American seniors circuit after his breakthrough victory. He had to hold off the challenge from several golfing greats to secure his maiden senior major title at the Senior Open presented by Rolex.
Jade Jones has admitted she failed to adapt to an arena without fans after her dreams of a third successive Olympic gold medal were shattered at the first hurdle in Tokyo. The Welsh fighter had travelled to the Japanese capital seeking an unprecedented third gold medal in the sport following triumphs at London 2012 and Rio in 2016. But Jones’ nine-year unbeaten Olympic record ended with a 16-12 defeat to Kimia Alizadeh Zenoorian in the last 16 of the -57kg weight division.
Joe Brier will become an Olympic athlete after he replaced Matthew Hudson-Smith in the 4 x 400m relay squad in Tokyo. Welsh athlete and Swansea Harrier Brier – who had gone with the Great Britain squad as a travelling reserve – will now get to compete at the Games after European 400m champion Huson-Smith has pulled out of the Olympics on medical grounds. Team GB confirmed the 26-year-old had withdrawn, although it is not Covid-19 related.
The sun is shining, spring is in the air and also in the step of Evan Hoyt – Wales’ top ranked tennis player – who is finally nearing fitness. It’s been a long road back for Hoyt who told Graham Thomas there were times when he wondered whether he would... Read More
Former Wales international Bethan Lewis has been appointed to the board of Tennis Wales. Lewis, who won national honours at both junior and senior level in the early 2000s, will join as a director next month and brings wide experience as both a player and a communications consultant. A director... Read More
Tennis players have launched a petition calling for the sport to be “unlocked” following the urgings of the sport’s governing body towards the Welsh government. The petition to allow outdoor tennis in Wales to restart had been signed by over 2,000 people by midday on Sunday. It comes after Tennis... Read More
Sports Technology Has Taken Flight Like A Pair Of Nike Alpha Fly . . . And No-One Knows The Destination
You don’t have to be a ranting Premier League football manager, raging against VAR, to understand how technology is changing every aspect of sport. From parkrun to Eliud Kipchoge, sport is being dramatically altered. Graham Thomas speaks to some of those at the sharp end of the transformation. In Wales... Read More
As the Australian tennis Open heads towards its final rounds in the men’s and women’s tournaments, Owen Morgan recalls an infamous match in the USA from the Seventies that now has echoes through sport in Wales. The 1970s saw the Battle of the Sexes between women’s tennis superstar Billie Jean... Read More
Evan Hoyt’s Wimbledon adventure ended with a quarter-final defeat - but praise from two-time champion Andy Murray. The 24-year-old from Llanelli had enjoyed a dream debut at the tournament, but his remarkable mixed doubles run with partner Eden Silva came to a gallant end in the quarter finals on Thursday... Read More