TODAY marks the start of competition at the 20th Commonwealth Games in Glasgow where a number of Penarth athletes will be bidding for glory, writes James Candy.
A total of 231 athletes across 17 sports will pull on the red of Wales in a bid to bring gold back to Wales.
Last night’s opening ceremony lifted the curtain on 12 days of action, where heroes will be made and hearts will be broken.
The Celtic Park showcase was a far cry from the humble beginnings of Brett Morse and Ieuan Lloyd, who moulded their sporting careers right here in Penarth.
Ieuan Lloyd will be the next Penarthian to feature when he takes to the pool at the Tollcross International Swimming Centre on July 29.
The 21-year-old former Stanwell pupil is hoping to storm to a place on the podium in the 200 metre individual medley after he bagged a hat-trick of gold medals at the junior games in 2011.
The City of Cardiff swimmer is relishing the challenge of pitting his wits against Chad Le Clos, Dan Tranter and Tom Fraser-Holmes, who top the world rankings.
Lloyd competed in Delhi four years ago and wants to lead by example.
He said: “I know how important it is for the younger members of the squad to learn from the more experienced ones.
“I think they can look up to us and the likes of Jazz Carlin. I don’t think age is a problem – we can definitely hold our own.
“I think the younger members have a great chance at the Games because of their enthusiasm and talent.”
Discus hopeful Brett Morse has a chance to announce himself on the world-stage after a turbulent four years a day later on July 30.
He stormed back to the top of the British rankings with a throw of 63.34m at Cardiff’s capital throws event this month.
Now he wants to back-up his performances in training with a huge throw at Hampden Park.
He said: “I’m performing well in training so there’s no reason I can’t go up there and win it. I’m still not quite at my peak but I’m not far off it.
“I need to go to the Commonwealth Games, do well and win a medal, hopefully gold.”
Penarth’s hockey star Eloise Laity, was due to star in the Commonwealth Games but has had to return home to Wales after picking up an injury in training.
Laity began her budding career at Penarth Hockey Club under the guidance of former Wales internationals Walid Abdo and Kate Morgan
Brian Davies, chef de mission of Team Wales, said:
“Twenty-year-old Sophie Clayton will be travelling to Glasgow to join the team as a result and we look forward to welcoming her shortly.”
“Everyone at Team Wales wishes Eloise a speedy recovery and no doubt she’ll be back representing her country soon.”
Amanda Partington, head coach of the women’s hockey team, said;
“We’re bitterly disappointed for Eloise, she’d worked incredibly hard to earn her selection for the team and to pick up an injury at such a late stage is really disappointing for her. We wish Eloise well in her recovery and look forward to welcoming
Sophie into the squad ready for our first game in Thursday.”
Sophie Clayton will be travelling to Glasgow to replace Eloise and will no doubt relish the challenge of her first Commonwealth Games. Sophie featured in the recent Wales squad who competed in the Investec London Cup, 9-13 July 2014.