London’s not calling, but Rio may be grand

Published date: 17 February 2012 |
Published by: Shaun Davies
Read more articles by Shaun Davies


LONDON may have passed them by, but two talented Vale of Clwyd athletes could well turn their sights to Rio.

With the 2012 London Olympics fast approaching, it’s a critical time for the Welsh athletes who are hoping to compete on the world’s biggest sporting stage.

S4C documentary series Y Ras i Lundain 2012 returns for a third year with two programmes next week.

With the Games just around the corner, Rhodri Ogwen Williams asks what makes an Olympic athlete and meets some of the athletes who have been battling hard to earn a place at the 2012 Olympic Games.

Among the young people taking part in the series are 18-year-old Denbigh twin table tennis sisters Megan and Angharad Phillips.

The twins’ father Tegid said: “This Ras i Lundain, it must be the third or fourth series they have had.

“They have been in blocks of three-or-four programmes over the last three-or-four years.

“This is the last one with London approaching.

“They followed Angharad when she went to Pune to the Commonwealth Youth Games in 2008

“Then they followed the girls to the Commonwealth Games in 2010.”

Tegid added: “They followed 12 or 14 people and there’s only two that will go to the London Olympics.

“They have now been informed they’re not going to be selected.

“When they announced that London was having the games, all of the sports picked an Olympic squad.

“That squad was trained day in, day out in Sheffield.

“They have increased it (the table tennis squad) to six and our girls have beaten three of that squad.”

However, while Angharad and Megan have been playing table tennis for less than a decade, the majority of the Olympic squad members have been competing in the sport for around 15 or 20 years.

“We are not disappointed - we are realistic,” added Tegid.

“This is only their fifth full season of competition, compared to the other girls with 15 or 20 years of experience.

“Rio is obviously the one that they talk about.

“But Rio is going to be far more difficult to qualify for.

“Going back to Beijing and no British player qualified to play.”

The 2016 Olympic Games will head to Brazilian city Rio de Janeiro, the first ever South American staging in the 120-year history of the games.

As for future plans, Tegid added: “They’re coming to the end of their A Levels and the girls are academically sound.

“We told them to get their A Levels and then maybe take one or two years off until 2014 (the Commonwealth Games).

“The decision’s been made and they’re going to be taking time off.”

S4C will broadcast two Y Ras i Lundain programmes next week - on Tuesday, February 21 and Friday, February 24, both starting at 6.30pm.

Meanwhile, Angharad and Megan helped to make their own piece of table tennis history last week.

Joining forces with Treorchy’s Chloe Thomas and Ebbw Vale’s Charlotte Carey, they became the first team from Wales to win the Premier Division of the Junior British League.

FULL report in next week’s Free Press.

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