The Greatest Ever Year For Welsh Sport

by Ray_North on April 30, 2013

Unknown-6Ok, bear with…. this is going to be an unapologetically nationalistic piece which may not appeal to those who are not, well, not Welsh. But, I defy anyone who is Welsh, not to be proud of our sporting achievements in the last twelve months, and I hope that those who are not lucky enough to be Welsh will agree with me that for a small nation with little over 3 million people we’ve produced some really fine sportsmen and women who are currently competing with the best in the world in their chosen sports.

Let’s start with the Olympics – in 2012, Wales sent 30 Olympians to the games which was the most ever, and they produced seven medals between them, our best ever haul. Hell, I’m going to name each and every one of them:
Geraint Thomas – Gold in the Men’s Pursuit Cycling;
Tom James – Gold in the Men’s Fours Rowing;
Jade Jones – Gold in the Womens’ 56kg Taekwondo;
Chris Bartley – Silver in the Men’s Lightweight Rowing Fours;
Freddie Evans – Silver in the Men’s Welterweight Boxing;
Hannah Mills – Silver Woman’s Sailing;
Sarah Thomas – Bronze, Women’s Hockey.

There was something tremendous about watching a girl from Flint or a young man from Coedpoeth winning gold medals at the Olympics.

But it didn’t stop there, in Association Football, although the Welsh national team continues to struggle, the club sides have produced the greatest ever season for Wales. Swansea City’s victory over Bradford in the League Cup was the first major trophy won by a Welsh Football Club since 1927, whilst their performance in the league was amazing – ok, they may be managed by a Dane and have as many Dutchmen and Spaniards on the field as Welsh, but they are still a Welsh Club. Next year, for the first time ever there will be two Welsh Clubs in the top-flight after Cardiff City won the Championship. Although they’ll have to play the derby games at 8.30 am on a Monday morning, it is still a great achievement to have 10% of the English Premier League made up of Welsh sides.

But it doesn’t end there – my own beloved Wrexham won the FA Trophy, and they or Newport will now face eachother in the Conference Play-off ensuring that there will once again be 3 clubs from Wales in the football league next season.

And…. of course, the PFA Player and Young Player of the Year is a certain Gareth Bale from Cardiff.

Of course, for us Welsh, our great passion is Rugby and, well, after an uncertain start, Wales produced some of their finest performances during the six nations including the exhilarating 30-3 win over the Grand Slam seeking England in Cardiff, which was, the finest performance I’ve ever seen from a Welsh side. Today, rightly, 15 Welsh players were selected for the British and Irish Lions, who will be captained by Sam Warburton who was, incidentally, in school with Gareth Bale.

There are some other achievements worth mentioning as well – Dave Brailsford, without whom Bradley Wiggins might be little more than an interesting bloke with a Mod Haircut, is from Deiniolen; Becky James, described as the heir to Victoria Pendleton was outstanding in the cycling World Championships; whilst boxer Nathan Cleverly is now being touted for a World title fight against Bernard Hopkins.

I’m sorry to boast, actually I’m not sorry at all, but on hearing the announcement of Sam Warburton, who seems to be a really great fellah as well as a damn fine rugby player, today as the Captain of the Lions, it brought home to me, how important sport is for a small nation like Wales and how our triumphs go a long way towards defining us as a nation.

There boast over.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Charlie_East_West May 1, 2013 at 3:07 pm

Scotland won the world curling championships, and we have a decent tennis player. End of.

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Charlie_East_West May 1, 2013 at 3:08 pm

Oh…I almost forgot….Sir Chris Hoy.

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