Personal bests will constitute success for Wales says team boss

·3-min read
Team Wales tasked with topping Gold Coast 2018, their best ever Games

By Andy Baber in Birmingham

Chef de mission Nicola Phillips insists personal bests are the prerogative for Team Wales at Birmingham 2022 as medals and Games records will inevitably follow.

One of six countries to have competed in every Commonwealth Games since 1930, Wales achieved a record-breaking medal haul of 36 at the Gold Coast in 2018.

That total included 10 golds, 12 silvers and 14 bronze medals to eclipse the previous leading efforts at Auckland 1990 and Glasgow 2014 and expectations are high again this summer.

But Phillips, who was also chef de mission four years ago, has challenged Team Wales athletes to focus on personal bests rather than getting caught up in chasing medals.

“We want everyone on our team to come away having done a personal best, it’s a big ask and it’s not going to happen with everyone but that’s what we are striving for,” she said.

“We have the calibre of athletes that their personal bests, could be Games records, podium positions and world records. If everyone does their best, and does what they can control, we hope that will transfer to medals.

“The main thing is that we come away having done our best, having been great ambassadors for their sport and for Wales.”

Geraint Thomas and Tesni Evans will lead Team Wales out at the opening ceremony for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games ahead of 11 days of competition.

The ceremony at Alexander Stadium is only 55 miles from the Welsh border and Phillips believes her country can make the most of the advantages provided by a ‘home Games’.

“It’s practically on our doorstep, it’s about as close to a home Games as we can get without it being in Wales,” she said. “It means more people can come and watch their friends and family compete so we’re for a big, supportive crowd.

“It also means we have a bigger team of people supporting the athletes, living just outside the village who can help out where possible, we couldn’t do that if it was further afield.”

This summer, Team Wales, supported by funding raised by National Lottery players, will compromise of over 200 athletes as they target another record-breaking medal tally.

More than 1,100 elite athletes are supported by UK Sport’s National Lottery-funded World Class Programme, allowing them to train full time, have access to the world’s best coaches and benefit from pioneering technology, science and medical support.

And Phillips has seen firsthand the difference that National Lottery’s support has made.

“I’ve been working in sport a long time and working before the National Lottery started and the difference is absolutely amazing in the health and wellbeing of the athletes coming into games now and the ability for them to compete at their best, that wouldn’t have happened without National Lottery,” she added.

“Whether it’s facilities where they are exposed to the sport in the first place, support to help keep them healthy and recover from injury, or the right advice so they are much more educated about how they can perform to their best.”

National Lottery players raise more than £30million a week for good causes including vital funding into sport – from grassroots to elite. Find out how your numbers make amazing happen at: www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk and get involved by using the hashtag: #TNLAthletes.

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