Wales

Commonwealth Games: Homecoming for Team Wales in Cardiff

Team captain Aled Sion Davies joins First Minister Carwyn Jones and Dame Rosemary Butler, presiding officer, for the homecoming celebration
Image caption Savouring the moment - team captain Aled Sion Davies (right) joins First Minister Carwyn Jones and Dame Rosemary Butler, presiding officer, for the homecoming

A crowd of about 150 people cheered on victorious members of Team Wales at a Commonwealth Games homecoming ceremony in Cardiff Bay.

The team won a record 36 medals at Glasgow 2014, four more than their highest haul at Manchester 2002.

First Minister Carwyn Jones said: "We are so proud of Team Wales and their amazing achievements".

Specially-commissioned medals from the Royal Mint were presented to the athletes during the ceremony.

Image caption This many athletes aren't used to keeping this still for long - waiting for the call
Image caption Mari Wyn Williams, from the Wales International Academy of Voice, was part of the pre-parade entertainment
Image caption Up and coming band from the Bay, Baby Queens warmed up the crowd
Image caption First Minister Carwyn Jones paid tribute to the 'dedication, commitment, talent and fitness' of the team
Image caption 'Go Wales' was the theme of the night and there was plenty to shout about
Image caption Competitors from all disciplines, including bowls, cycling and swimming were at the Senedd
Image caption Frankie Jones (right) said her games experience was 'amazing' and more than she expected
Image caption Squash player Scott Fitzgerald, from Pontypool, had taken part in his second home games and his family were there
Image caption Three cheers for Team Wales
Image caption The national anthem rounded off the celebration

Mr Jones, who attended the event in front of the Senedd, added: "We were all enthralled as we watched pinnacle moments such as Geraint Thomas' gold in the men's road race, our double-gold in the pool and of course Frankie Jones' six medal haul in the rhythmic gymnastics."

The crowds cheered the athletes as they were presented to the audience on the steps of the Senedd with the biggest applause saved for the gymnasts and cyclists.

Welsh Assembly presiding officer Dame Rosemary Butler said all the athletes were "role models for Wales" and "with young people like this, the future of Wales is assured".

Image caption Even the 'eye in the sky' above the crowd had the right colours showing

Wales finished 13th in the final medal table with five gold, 11 silver and 20 bronze.

Highlights last month saw Jazz Carlin becoming the first Welsh woman to win a Commonwealth Games swimming gold in 40 years in the 800m freestyle, before Georgia Davies matched the feat in the backstroke.

Frankie Jones - who had been the Team Wales flag bearer - took home six medals in her final championship before retiring at the age of 23.

She also received the prestigious David Dixon award for inspiring others at the Games, which was presented to her at the closing ceremony.

She is now about to start university but said: "Young people are coming up to me to say they want to do gymnastics. It's a privilege to see that happening."

The first minister said she had finished 16th in the medal table "on her own".

"She's a wonderful example to young people all over Wales," he said.

It was time for families, who swelled the crowd as they paid their own tributes to the years of dedication, occasional agonies and many miles travelling to training.

Proud mother Judith Fitzgerald, from Pontypool, was there to support squash playing son Scott, 32, who made the last 16 in the doubles and won the plate in the singles.

"He's been playing since he was nine," she said. "They give up a lot to do what they do. He had to go all the way to Manchester to train because they don't have a doubles court in Wales."

Team captain and discus thrower Aled Sion Davies had returned home after an "emotional rollercoaster" of a games.

He said he had the "taste of silver, but I don't want to taste it again".

His father Huw, there with wife Jackie, spoke for all families who share in the joy and pain when he said: "We watch him for a while and then close our eyes for the last couple of throws. You want him to win and when that final throw has gone you can relax and celebrate."

WALES' FIVE GOLD MEDALLISTS

Image caption The different sports and athletes were called to the Senedd steps in turn to be presented to the crowd

Related Topics

More on this story

Around the BBC