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13 November 2017

Wales - a venue for sporting success

Blog by Andrew Flanigan, 17, Student, Wales.


Sport in Wales over recent times is full of success stories. Our excellence, not only within sport but for hosting major sporting events, has helped to increase our profile on the world stage.

Wales was thrown into the limelight when reaching the semi-finals of the Euros in 2016, their first major football tournament in 58 years. Our  journey through the stages was not easy, with doubts about qualifying. However, Wales outclassed a number of opponents, including a famous 3-1 victory over tournament favourites Belgium. Putting skill and talent to one side, it could be argued that the heart and spirit of the team and fans  contributed to their success  and led to admiration from the international community. Although they lost the semi-finals, Wales were still winners.

In fact, 2016 was to be a golden year for Welsh athletes. At the 2016 Rio Olympics Great Britain had their most successful Olympics ever, increasing their medal count from London four years earlier. This would not have been achieved without the record success from Welsh athletes. Team GB’s Welsh athletes ended the competition with four gold medals, and Wales’ biggest ever medal haul. Double Olympic champion Jade Jones retained her 2012 gold medal at just 23 years old and another touching Welsh success  was Jazz Carlin’s silver in the women’s 800 metre freestyle. Having missed out both Beijing and London, it was a proud moment when she stepped up onto the podium to finally receive the medal she had been chasing for so long. Welsh Boxers also had a superb year as Nathan Cleverly became the WBA ‘regular’ light-heavyweight champion and Lee Selby retained his IBF featherweight belt.

The legacy of the Olympics and Euros has only added to Wales’ growing reputation for hosting big sporting occasions and a nation which produces great sporting talent.  With world class venues, dedicated teams, Welsh creativity, energy and enthusiasm, it’s no surprise that sporting bodies are choosing Wales. The Principality Stadium, in Cardiff’s city centre is a major venue, and it is often called upon to host large events - previously hosting world cup matches, concerts - such as Beyoncé’s Formation World Tour  - and more recently the Champions League Final in June 2017.

[Image credit WRU -] 

Last month it was incredible for Wales to host world heavyweight boxing champion Anthony Joshua for his  20th professional fight against Carlos Takam. On 28th October, 78,000 people packed out the Principality Stadium, breaking the previous record for the most people in an indoor arena by nearly 15,000 people. The venue put on a fantastic show for the world to see Joshua secure yet another win. On the same weekend Welshman Elfyn Evans won his first World Rally Championship race and the first Welshman to win the Dayinsure Wales Rally GB, the UK’s foremost rally event, since its conception in 1932.   

 [Image credit WRU -] 

It’s increasingly clear that sport in Wales provides fantastic opportunities, right from elite level all the way down to beginners. With another prestigious event the Volvo Ocean Race coming to Wales in 2018, I have my fingers crossed future generations will continue to be inspired by our current stars, our record breakers and Wales itself.