Wales’ Olympic and Paralympic heroes were celebrated this evening (13 September) during a special homecoming event at the Senedd to honour their success.
Olympic medallists Lauren Williams and Calum Jarvis were joined by Team GB Hockey team members Sarah Jones and Leah Wilkinson, Paralympic Gold winner Aled Sion Davies, and Bronze medallist Olivia Breem and nearly a dozen other medallists, athletes and coaches at a ceremony hosted by sports presenter Jason Mohammad.
The event was streamed live on Senedd.tv and on the Senedd’s social media accounts, where it can be watch again anytime on demand.
Llywydd of the Senedd, Elin Jones MS and the First Minister, Mark Drakeford MS both extended their congratulations to the athletes and expressed their pride at the efforts of the Welsh contingent in Tokyo.
Elin Jones MS, Llywydd of the Senedd, said; “Huge congratulations are in order for the Welsh athletes we have been so proud to see competing in Tokyo. Years of training, dedication and hard work led to a fantastic haul of medals in front of millions of global spectators and I was very glad to welcome some of them to the Senedd to celebrate their success.
“Seeing these athletes - people from communities across Wales - giving their all and providing us with excitement and unity after such a difficult 18 months was a fantastic sight. Undoubtedly, they will have inspired the next generation to join today’s Olympians and Paralympians as part of Wales’ illustrious sporting history.”
Mark Drakeford MS, the First Minister of Wales, said; “I’m very proud so many fantastic Welsh athletes have been part of Paralympics GB and Team GB, competing at the very highest levels of their sports in the Olympic and Paralympic Games this year.
“These are stunning successes for a nation our size and show how we punch above our weight, time and again, when it comes to sporting success on the world stage.
“Many of our athletes already have an eye on the Commonwealth Games next year in Birmingham. We will be watching with great interest, and wish them every success in that and future competitions.”
Fiona Reid, CEO of Disability Sport Wales said; “It has been a challenging period of time, but the focus, determination and resilience of each and every Paralympian has been phenomenal. We are incredibly proud of the achievements of all 22 of the Welsh athletes/athletes living in Wales who represented ParalympicsGB in Tokyo. Making up 10% of the team, and bringing home 14 medals (11% of the total tally) continues to demonstrate the impact that Welsh athletes make on the world stage.
“It was also fantastic to know, despite families and loved ones not being out in Tokyo with the athletes as they would normally have been, that the coverage through Channel 4 was so exceptional; making para sport that accessible, and having the calibre of athletes we have is what inspires and informs people about what is out there, and what is possible.”
Brian Davies, Director at Sport Wales added: “We always knew that these would be the Games like no other, and once the sport started they definitely delivered some truly iconic sporting moments. From first Paralympic or Olympic appearances, to history making performances; every one of these athletes, and the teams behind them should be incredibly proud of themselves. Following on from a difficult couple of years, we hope that their performances will have helped Wales to rekindle a love for sport or to try a new way of getting active.”