Cardiff Metropolitan University is behind almost 50 athletes and team officials heading down under for this year's Gold Coast Commonwealth Games (GC2018).
From 4-15 April, 6,600 individuals from 70 Commonwealth nations and territories will descend on host cities Brisbane, Cairns and Townsville competing in 18 disciplines.
Of the 200+ strong Team Wales, 32 members are either current students, graduates or staff at Cardiff Met, including Games Manager Cathy Williams, and a further 7 are to take part on behalf of other nations.
A Cardiff Met presence is perhaps most notable in the hockey team with eight alumni and staff taking spots on the team - Luke Hawker, Alf Dinnie, Dale Hutchinson, James Carson, James Fortnam, Natasha Marke-Jones, Julie Whiting and Lisa Daley - and four previous students - Danny Newcombe, Matt Mills, Ben Eaton and Dan Clements - taking the roles of men's assistant coach, men's performance analyst, ladies' manager and head of performance respectively. A further eight team members have gone through the Cardiff & Met Hockey Club programme which Cardiff Met is directly affiliated with. The players' hockey development has benefitted greatly from this scheme.
Of the 12 players making up the netball team, eight were Cardiff Met educated - Kelly Morgan, Nia Jones, Kyra Jones, Bethan Dyke, Cara Lea Moseley, Chelsea Lewis, Georgia Rowe and Suzy Drane – with Cardiff Met lecturer, Gemma Davies, travelling to Australia with the team as performance analyst.
Cardiff School of Sport and Health Sciences students Jasmine Joyce, Ffion Lewis and Owen Jenkins will also represent Team Wales as part of the Rugby 7's teams.
Boxer, Rosie Eccles, is a full time MSc student in sport psychology, Weightlifter Ania Negele is studying towards an MSc in Sport Management and Leadership, 100m para sprinter, James Ledger studied sports development and coaching, Morgan Jones is studying MSc Sport & Exercise Science, while Becca Chapman, former student-turned-lecturer and athletics coach, will compete in the long jump next month. Following Seren Bundy-Davies' withdrawal from the Games, decathlete and former Cardiff Met student, Curtis Mathews secured the last place on Team Wales.
Other Cardiff Met alumni making up Team Wales this year include Dai Greene, Josh Griffiths, Tom Marshall, Ieuan Thomas, Morgan Jones, Faye Pittman, Zoe Thomas, Kyran Jones, Peter Creed, Jo Westwood, Nathan Stephens and Laura Halford.
Participating on behalf of other nations are current Cardiff Met students, Stefanie Collins and Eilidh Simpson, who have made Team England's women's basketball squad along with team manager Sarah Wagstaff. Cardiff Met alumni Barney Blake will take a place with Team England's men's basketball squad as a performance analyst. MSc student Charlotte Wingfield will take a place in the Team Malta Athletics squad and Chloe Le Tissier who will represent Guernsey in Badminton. Josh Yon, who has paused his BSc Sport Conditioning, Rehabilitation and Massage course until September to focus on his Commonwealth Games training, will be taking part in the 50m and 100m backstroke and 4x100m relay for The Island of Saint Helena, while alumni Karl Mclean has been added to the Northern Ireland weightlifting team.
Owen Rodgers, Acting Director of Sport at Cardiff Metropolitan University said: "We're thrilled that so many students, former students and colleagues have been selected to attend the 2018 Commonwealth Games. Every athlete and coach heading to the Gold Coast has put in an enormous amount of effort to secure their place; balancing education or careers along with their extensive training. We know that each and every one of them will give 100% in the Games and we will be watching and supporting them on their journey."
Helen Phillips, Chair of the Commonwealth Games Wales Board, said: "Being selected for Team Wales to compete at the Commonwealth Games is a huge honour and achievement, and is the pinnacle of many Welsh athletes' careers.
"It is the culmination of years of hard work, preparation and dedication – not only by the athletes themselves but by their governing bodies, Sport Wales, and everyone involved with supporting the athletes and promoting Welsh sporting talent.
"The further education sector plays an extremely important role in nurturing future sports leaders and supporting elite athletes to reach their goals and perform to their very best.
"We thank all at Cardiff Metropolitan University, and all other educational institutions in Wales, for their continued support. This support is recognised not only by us, but also by Team Wales athletes themselves.
"On behalf of Commonwealth Games Wales, I wish all the Cardiff Met students, staff and alumni taking part in the 2018 Commonwealth Games all the very best in Gold Coast."
For all the latest news on Team Wales visit www.teamwales.cymru/en/news-blog/news. For information about Cardiff Metropolitan University and the sports programmes it offers, visit www.cardiffmet.ac.uk/about/sport.