David Phelps turned back the clock to recapture his golden form as he celebrated his 41st birthday in style at the Gold Coast by winning his second Commonwealth Games gold for Wales.
Twelve years on from his first success in the Melbourne Games, Phelps set a Games record in winning again in the Men’s 50m Prone Rifle as he kept Scotland’s Neil Stirton and England’s Kenneth Parr at bay.
Qualifying seventh for the final, Phelps started in style, placing second after the 10 shots of the first competition stage.
He dominated the field after his 15th shot, in which he snatched a massive 10.7. Turning 41 today, Phelps kept shooting superbly, never dipping below 10.0 for the next nine shots to grab the gold medal in a Games record score of 248.8.
His final score of 248.8 to defeat Stirton in the final elimination round made it three medals in his five Games career. He also won a bronze in 2006 in the pairs.
Phelps’ gold came shortly after Wales had struck silver in the Queen’s Prize behind England in what was another clean sweep for the Home Nations. Chris Watson and Gareth Morris finished two behind England and just pipped the Scots.
“I knew I had it in me to get to the final, but I managed to hold my nerve and just rely on 20 or 30 years of experience. It is truly awesome and epic, a very pleasant surprise,” admitted Phelps.
“Having the crowd sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to me afterwards was very special. My friends and family came halfway around the world to see me.”
“I can’t describe it. Winning the first one (at the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games) and then winning a second one. I can’t believe it. I can’t believe it. So many things I want to say, but I can’t. Words escape me. It’s the best. The absolute best.”
“It’s one of the best birthdays. I can’t think of any that have topped it. I’m over the moon. I never expected this. Making the final was my goal, but this is just – wow!”
Both Phelps’ parents competed internationally and his old school, Whitchuch HS, can now celebrate their third medal of the Games, and their second gold after Dan Salmon’s success in winning the Men’s Paris in Bowls and current pupil Latalia Bevan’s sensational silver on Floor in the artistic gymnastics.