Tokyo Olympics: ‘Fantastic’ Welsh achievements can encourage more people to get active

Brian Davies
Brian Davies has previously been acting chief executive of Sport Wales and Chef de Mission for Team Wales at the Commonwealth Games

Director of Sport Wales Brian Davies hopes Welsh successes at the Tokyo Olympics will inspire the nation to be more active.

The Covid-19 delayed 2020 Games saw 11 Welsh athletes contribute to eight medals, Wales’ second most successful Games after Rio 2016.

Team GB won 65 medals in all, with a Welsh contribution to three of a tally of 22 golds.

“That is an incredible list for a country to be proud of,” said Davies..

Lauren Price delivered Team GB’s final medal of the Games, winning the middleweight boxing title.

Hannah Mills became Great Britain’s most successful female Olympic sailor with a second successive 470 victory, while swimmers Matt Richards and Calum Jarvis were part of the gold winning men’s 4x200m freestyle squad.

There was a silver medal in Taekwondo for Lauren Williams, along with track cyclist Elinor Barker (women’s team pursuit) and rower Tom Barras (men’s quadruple sculls).

Four Welsh athletes also shared in two bronze medals, Leah Wilkinson and Sarah Jones (women’s hockey) and rowers Josh Bugajski and Ollie Wynne-Griffith (men’s eight).

After her outstanding victory on the final day of the games Price paid an emotional tribute to her grandparents, who supported her throughout her journey to become Wales first ever Olympic boxing champion.

Davies believes similar investments in time and money will be common among all successful athletes.

“The emotional bit there, when you add all that up, it’s an incredible cocktail of striving and effort, but that could be true of any one of those medallists,” he told BBC Radio Wales Breakfast programme.

“Every single one of those names will have made some sacrifice, or their parents or their family or their support staff have, and that’s what makes it a fantastic achievement and gives the inspiration that really it’s all about getting people up off their couches and doing their own things.

“Even if they don’t win an Olympic medal or a Paralympic medal, they can still do their own personal podiums and I guess that’s what Lauren Price, Lauren Williams and the others will do.

“Encourage people to be active, to show that you can achieve, no matter where you are from.”

The best ever Olympic performance for Welsh athletes saw them win 10 medals – four gold and six silver – in Brazil, surpassing the seven collected by Welsh athletes at London 2012.

Rio 2016 was followed two years later by Team Wales’ most successful ever Commonwealth Games, winning 36 medals, including 10 golds, at Gold Coast.

Davies believes repeating that outstanding achievement will be made harder by the fact that the delayed Tokyo 2020 games means there is now just 12 months to go before Birmingham 2022.

“Hopefully those sports and athletes that are in both will build on this and do well,” he said, “but of course it’s not always the same sports that are in the Commonwealth Games and the Olympics.

“There’s a little bit of an overlap, but not 100%, so yeah it will be tough.

“The coaches and the governing bodies will all be planning properly now, but of course there’s always this doubt as to whether there’ll be more restrictions in place at any point and they’ll have to show some flexibility and adaptability, but they’ve done that already.

“These guys have shown adaptability, flexibility and managed to show that you can still succeed, so hopefully the same will be true for Birmingham.”

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