Thursday, March 1, 2012

World Class Welsh Sport: Geraint Thomas' View

Happy St Davids Day! Dydd Gwyl Dewi Hapus!

In our fourth and final installment of opinion pieces to mark today's special celebrations we hear from Olympic and World champion cyclist, Geraint Thomas MBE, about what he thinks makes Wales such a great sporting nation.

“It’s no secret that I’m a proud Welshman and that I’ve never forgotten my roots wherever I’ve been racing with Team Sky and the GB guys. I got the best possible start when I first started out, as a ten-year-old, with Maindy Flyers. There are great clubs all over the country that are helping kids and adults to get their first taste of cycling and other sports.

“We’re a passionate bunch, the Welsh, and we’ve got a real ‘never say die attitude.’ I see that in fellow athletes, like Dai Greene, and the Welsh rugby team – and it’s that refusal to give up that’s got me through some tough races and brought me my successes.

“I think that passion is obvious in the fans too. I’ve had such great support from the fans in Wales whenever I’ve raced and I’m really conscious of that support from back home. It means a lot and definitely spurs me on to do my best, knowing that the Welsh fans are cheering me on.

“As well as the great facilities, like the Wales National Velodrome, that we’ve got in Wales we’ve also got some phenomenal countryside for getting out on a bike or trying any other outdoor sports. Those early days, racking up the mileage in the Welsh hills, were the perfect education for me and hopefully more youngsters will get out there on their bikes after they’ve watched the London 2012 cycling events.”

Find out more about our great sporting nation and test your Welsh sporting knowledge with's interactive quiz.

Geraint is the Sporting Ambassador for Welsh Lamb and Welsh Beef, which involves talking with young athletes about the importance of eating a balanced diet and how red meat can aid in recovery after exercise.