Team Wales preparations are now well underway for the 2018 Commonwealth Games on Australia’s Gold Coast in 500 days, with the establishment of an Athletes’ Commission to directly connect the athletes with Commonwealth Games Wales (CGW), the national body responsible for selecting and sending elite athletes to compete for Wales at the Games.
The group of athletes, drawn from a broad range of sports, will work with CGW board member Frankie Jones, Wales’ most decorated athlete and gymnast from a single Games in Glasgow, to provide feedback on a variety of athlete issues. The group comprises Aled Sion Davies representing Disability Sport Wales; Hannah Powell from Weightlifting; Charlotte Carey, Table Tennis; ; David Phelps from Shooting; Rhys Williams, Athletics; and Bethan Dyke from Netball.
The Athletes’ Commission will take account of athletes’ concerns and issues and input suggestions and ideas to the board through Frankie to address and iron out any potential issues in the run-up to Gold Coast.
Team Wales Chef De Mission for Gold Coast, Prof. Nicola Phillips said: “Our Athletes’ Commission is a strong, representative group of athletes who I have no doubt will ensure that the opinions of their fellow competitors remain central to the boards’ planning for the Gold Coast Games. In addition to being a hugely successful three-time Commonwealth Games athlete herself, Frankie has proved to be a very committed and able board member, and I know she will lead the group in getting across the views of Welsh athletes and helping to create the best possible conditions for Team Wales success in 2018.”
The first task for the Commission will be regarding the kit for Gold Coast. Commenting on their new roles, here is what the Commission representatives had to say:
Aled Sion Davies: “Hugely proud of being asked to be on the Commission. Following my time as Team Captain at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games I'm very aware of the differing needs of athletes at a Games, and this experience as well as my own will further support the work of the Commission to give our future athletes the best possible environment to perform for their country.”
Charlotte Carey: “Being a part of the Commonwealth Games as an athlete is already a great honour, but to be part of the Athletes’ Commission, having a voice for Welsh athletes to make the build-up and the Games experience perfect for us all is even better.”
David Phelps: “Representing Wales at the Commonwealth Games is the pinnacle of achievement in my sport. Representing my country, my nation, my heritage, my sport is what drives me to achieve and compete at the highest level I can. To have the honour and privilege of being on the Athletes’ Commission, to help the team and help my country is fantastic. I just hope I can do a great job to promote the Games, Wales and sport. Wales are always looked on as a friendly nation at the Games - I really want that to continue, making friends from across the Commonwealth.”
Rhys Williams: "I have always been honoured to compete for Wales at the Commonwealth Games. Being involved with the Athletes’ Commission allows me to be involved further with all things Commonwealth Games and pass on my experience, to positively influence future teams at this great event."
Bethan Dyke: "The Commonwealth Games is the pinnacle for our sport and it is a privilege to be a part of the Athletes’ Commission leading up to the competition, as a voice for netball and other Team Wales athletes."
Hannah Louise Powell: “For me, being a part of the Athletes’ Commission is something I feel excited and passionate about. I truly believe that the athletes have so many valuable opinions about their experiences, that when put forward, they can really help to make things even better for the future. To be able to help by being a voice between the athletes and those who make decisions, is a fantastic opportunity for myself personally, to help give back to sport. The Commonwealth Games is a special event and for some, is the pinnacle of one’s lifelong career in their sport. For this reason, it is important to keep the standards of this event as high as the expectations of such athletes. I am very much looking forward to getting involved and doing my best as part of a team to ensure that Team Wales has everything they need in order to have a successful games."