Glasgow 2014: Wales' early gloom lifted at the Commonwealth Games

By Aled WilliamsBBC Wales Sport
Glasgow 2014: Wales' Geraint Thomas wins road race gold

Glasgow had basked in glorious sunshine during the first few days of the 2014 Commonwealth Games, but dark clouds were still hovering over Team Wales after a torrid build-up which included injury pull-outs, failed drugs tests and refused accreditation.

But even torrential rain failed to dampen Welsh spirits on a memorable final day in which Geraint Thomas won Wales' fifth and final gold with a dramatic road race win.

In terms of the 36 medals won, it has been Wales' most successful Games, despite the inauspicious build-up and start.

Cyclist Becky James and world triathlon champions Non Stanford and Helen Jenkins were among a series of pre-Games injury withdrawals and Wales were also hit by the expulsion of 800m runner Gareth Warburton, who was charged with anti-doping rule violations.

And boxing gold medal hope Fred Evans was ruled out of the Games after being refused accreditation.

Davies delight at backstroke victory

Wales' woes continued when Rhys Williams, a bronze medallist in Delhi 2010, was also ruled out of the Games after failing a drugs test.

Williams' ban continued to dominate the headlines even as the Welsh medals started to trickle in.

Super Saturday has been overused in sporting parlance but Wales' achievements on the opening weekend transformed hopes and lifted spirits.

Frankie Jones, Wales' flag bearer at the opening ceremony, led the way.

She added a further three silvers on the Saturday morning to the two she had already bagged before finally winning a deserved gold in the ribbons final.

And with that Jones brought the curtain down on her career. After winning seven medals at two Games she would bow out having secured her place in Welsh sporting folklore.

Further medals came in the velodrome and in the pool and by Saturday evening Wales had won a second gold of the Games.

Natalie Powell became the winner of Wales' first judo gold and in doing so fulfilled a dream of winning a Commonwealth Games medal.

She will not have the opportunity to defend her title as judo has been dropped in favour of basketball for the 2018 Games in Australia's Gold Coast City.

Gymnast Jones wins Wales' first gold

By the end of the third day, fortunes had changed quickly, and Wales were more than halfway to their target of 27 medals.

Georgia Davies's silver medal in the 100m backstroke saw Wales surpass the 19 medals won in Delhi.

It was a successful Games in the pool with Jazz Carlin becoming the first Welsh female since Pat Beavan in 1974 to win Gold in the 800m freestyle.

The enormity of her achievements hit home as an emotional Carlin received her medal and stood on top of the podium for Hen Wlad fy Nhadau.

The Welsh anthem was played once again at Tollcross the following evening when Davies secured gold in the 50m backstroke, one of seven medals Wales won in the pool.

Brian Davies, Team Wales' chef de mission who had to deal with so many issues ahead of the Games, pronounced himself "delighted" to have reached their medal target in Glasgow.

Carlin is the first Welsh woman in 40 years to win Commonwealth swimming gold

But not every sport hit its target at the Games.

Welsh Athletics is facing a post-Games review after falling short of the Sport Wales aim of four medals at Glasgow 2014.

Sally Peake won pole vault silver on the final day of track and field while Wales' other two medals at Hampden Park were won by para-sport competitors.

Welsh gold at Glasgow 2014
Rhythmic gymnastics: Frankie Jones- ribbon
Judo: Natalie Powell- 78kg
Swimming: Jazz Carlin- women's 800m freestyle
Swimming: Georgia Davies- women's 50m backstroke
Cycling: Geraint Thomas- men's road race

One of those medal winners, Team Wales captain and double world champion Aled Sion Davies, was "gutted" with only a silver medal in the F42/F44 discus.

Wales' boxers surpassed their target of two medals although not one of the eight representatives reached finals compared to four from Northern Ireland.

World number one Andrew Selby did not even make it as far as the medal rounds, knocked out of the men's flyweight in the first round.

While Dai Greene's bid to defend his 400m hurdles title ended in failure, Wales' other big names fared better.

Geraint Thomas, only four days after finishing the Tour de France, secured a well-deserved time trial bronze medal.

But Thomas was not finished. In a gruelling and dramatic men's road race on a wet and miserable final day, he survived a puncture with six kilometres to go to win gold.

The sun made a timely reappearance for the medal ceremony in which Thomas was presented with gold, the only Welsh male to top the podium in Glasgow.

Natalie Powell beats Gemma Gibbons to judo gold

The 2018 Games will inevitably have some different faces. Along with gold medal winner Frankie Jones, Michaela Breeze has vowed not to make a second comeback despite winning weightlifting bronze and like Jones will now concentrate on coaching the next generation.

Elinor Barker, a silver and bronze medallist on the cycling track in Glasgow, is one of the young Welsh competitors to have made a mark at these Games and will be one of the medal hopes in four years' time.

Glasgow might have been grey, wet and miserable for the final two days of the Games, but Wales' outlook ahead of 2018 is certainly brighter.