Commonwealth Games: Wales aim to beat Auckland medal record, says team chief

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Commonwealth Games 2018: why representing Wales is so special...

Wales is aiming for its most successful overseas Commonwealth Games in Australia in 2018, according to team chief Professor Nicola Phillips.

The Gold Coast Games start on 4 April 2018, with the Welsh contingent aiming to top the 25 medals they won in Auckland 1990.

Chef de mission Phillips says it is a realistic target.

"We want to have more medals than we've ever had in an away Games," she told BBC Wales Sport.

She continued: "We've had some really good competition results since we entered the selection period. You can see the performances picking up."

Wales will take around 150 athletes to Queensland - down from the 228 who went to Glasgow in 2014.

It means the record 36 medals won in Scotland will be tough to match, but Phillips believes an overseas record of 26 would be a successful outcome.

"We know it's a massive task but the team are up for the challenge," she continued.

Phillips - a physiotherapist and Cardiff University professor - was Team Wales' chef de mission at the 2015 Commonwealth Youth Games in Samoa.

David Morgan
Weightlifter David Morgan was among Wales' medallists during their record-breaking 1990 Games in Auckland

She has also worked at Olympics and previous Commonwealth Games, as well as in professional rugby and weightlifting.

"I think we're going to go there with a strong team," she added.

"You only have to look at how the national governing bodies and Sport Wales are preparing their athletes compared to 10 or 11 years ago.

"They're getting better support, they're training smarter and we've got really good youngsters coming through. So it all looks really positive and I'm very optimistic."

'Special' to compete for Wales

Wales is one of just six nations to have appeared at every Commonwealth Games since it began in Hamilton, Canada in 1930.

It is the only multi-sport event that athletes can compete for Wales, rather than Great Britain.

Phillips believes this brings added motivation.

"As proud as I am to be British, there is something special about being able to compete for Wales and the pride you have for your home country," she added.

"I've gone to a number of Games, mainly as a physio, and I've supported athletes all my life.

"But to be leading the team now is really special. I'm bursting with pride."

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