- June 1, 2012
- Posted by: Carwyn Jones AM
- Category: Gazette Column
Thousands of people across Wales turned out to support the torch bearers as the flame travelled across the country last month, celebrating the arrival of the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics. The relay route passed through the communities of Nantymoel, Ogmore Vale, Bryncethin, Bridgend, Laleston and Pyle carried by people with their own stories of achievement and community contribution. This brings with it the opportunity to seek inspiration from within our communities across a range of endeavors, be it sport, volunteering or stories of personal achievement.
Not only am I proud of our athletes who will be representing Wales on the international stage, but I am also proud to welcome many squads from across the world who have chosen to train in Wales in preparation for their performance at this year’s Paralympics. I know that these teams will receive a warm welcome to Wales.
I hope that the dedication and hard work of our Welsh Olympic and Paralympic athletes continues to inspire young people into trying new sports and persevering to reach their potential and fulfil their sporting dreams.
The vast majority of people will never be elite athletes, but this should in no way deter anyone from finding a sport or activity that they can enjoy. It is important for children and adults alike to enjoy physical activity, be it traditional forms of organised sport, gym classes or other leisure activities such as walking and cycling. The diversity of activities on offer through local community facilities includes dance groups, skateboarding, martial arts and roller derby. Sport not only provides an opportunity to improve health but it is important in bringing a focus to local communities, involving volunteers who run clubs and providing structure and social bonds for those who commit to regular sport and activities.
Bridgend County Borough Council is well underway with plans to refurbish and rejuvenate sports and leisure facilities across the County, with the aim of making physical activity and sport as accessible as possible to people of all abilities and from all backgrounds. We are also lucky to have a diverse landscape and coastline for individuals and their families to enjoy for recreation.
Our Welsh Olympians started out in their local schools and clubs, and I commend them for their commitment and incredible achievements in rising to the very top of their sports. I am sure you will join me as I wish them all the best in their aspiration to return to Wales with medals and new world records from the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics.