Carys Parry: the Commonwealth hopeful as competitor and coach

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Commonwealth hopeful Parry as competitor and coach

They are something of a hammer throwing dream team.

No Welsh woman has ever thrown further than Carys Parry. No Welshman has ever thrown further than Osian Jones.

Together they're hoping to make Commonwealth history in 2018 with a first gold medal in the hammer for Wales. Maybe even two.

'He's got to beat an old lady'

Parry, 36, from Rhondda Cynon Taf, has tasted Commonwealth success before. She won silver at Delhi 2010.

Jones, 24, recalls skipping a biology lesson to watch her final live.

Having since qualified as a pharmacist, he didn't turn his back on biology for long. But Parry's hammer success has stuck with him even more.

Last November he relocated to Cardiff so that she could start coaching him.

"I couldn't find someone more inspiring to work alongside and have look over me," said Jones, who's originally from Caernarfon.

"I have aspirations of becoming an Olympian and winning a medal at the Commonwealth Games.

"I'm very grateful she's taken me on board."

The relationship is clearly working. The day after completing his pharmacy degree in July, Jones threw 70 metres - breaking Shaun Pickering's Welsh record that had stood since 1984.

It was also the 'A' qualifying standard for next year's Commonwealths in Australia and marked a proud moment for his new coach.

Carys Parry
Carys Parry's personal best throw is 66.80 metres

"That's one of the reasons I'm still throwing really, is because I want to try to bring youngsters through," said Parry.

"When I was throwing [growing up] there were lots of people throwing, so there were people to look up to and throw further than.

"This pushes us in different ways, because Osian has to try to beat an old lady!"

'I was going to retire'

Ahead of their Monday morning training session at Cardiff's National Indoor Athletics Centre, both athletes talk of their determination to make it to next April's Commonwealth Games in Australia.

But last time around, in Glasgow in 2014, the Games left both athletes disappointed.

Reigning silver medallist Parry finished 5th, while debutant Jones failed to make the final.

"Glasgow was my first ever international [competition] and I was very nervous," he admitted. "I let it all get to me to be honest and I didn't perform very well.

"Carys has helped massively. I've been wanting to throw over 70 metres for a good number of years and it hasn't worked out.

"It's the first year I've managed to do it and I think it's all down to her help."

The 2014 Games were a turning point for Parry too.

She had thought they would be her last competition, but missing out on a medal convinced her to aim to throw 70 metres herself by 2018.

Her Welsh record stands at 66.80.

Osian Jones
Osian Jones broke a Welsh hammer record standing for 33-years when he threw a distance of 69.20 metres

"I've always felt I could throw over 70 metres and I haven't done that yet," she said.

"The Commonwealth Games is the only time you get to put on a Welsh vest on the big stage. Once I've thrown over 70 metres I'll be able to hang up my throwing shoes and get on with coaching."

'One less accreditation for Team Wales'

After both throwing the required 'A' standard this season, they must now wait and see if they'll be selected for Team Wales later this year.

But to go to the Commonwealths together - as training partners and now friends - is something they'd both relish.

"For me to be able to be there as a competitor but also as a coach would be a proud moment," said Parry.

"It is an individual sport but to go there as a team would make it a little easier for us too."

"It would be amazing for us to go as a team," added Jones. "We'd show the rest of the competitors how much work we've put in and what we've got to offer."

And when his coach is also a fellow athlete?

"It'd be one less accreditation needed for Team Wales at least!"

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