REVIEW: Wales set record medals tally

Wales' Georgia Davies collects her gold medal for the Women's 50m Backstroke Final
Wales' Georgia Davies collects her gold medal for the Women's 50m Backstroke Final

As Team Wales pack up and leave Glasgow, they can reflect on a superb Commonwealth Games.

That this has been achieved on the back of a troubled build-up and a series of setbacks and negative headlines will make the success all the sweeter.

Less than a fortnight ago it seemed that Wales' Commonwealth Games would be remembered for anything other than sporting success. Now there should be plenty of congratulations and celebrations thanks to the performances of their well-prepared and motivated stars, most notably in gymnastics, swimming, boxing and cycling.

Things started badly as, before the Games even began, Rhys Williams, the European 400 metres hurdles champion, failed a drugs test - a second blow for the athletics team with 800m runner Gareth Warburton having failed a drugs test a week earlier.

There was further turmoil with Fred Evans, an Olympic boxing silver medallist, having his accreditation withdrawn on the eve of competition as a result of a conviction for assault.

All this came after a number withdrawals. Non Stanford and Helen Jenkins, world champions in triathlon, and Becky James, a track cycling world champion, pulled out injured. Boxer Ashley Brice was ruled ineligible having previously been paid as a professional kick boxer.

All of these problems were exacerbated by largely disappointing performances in the headline sport of athletics.

Defending champion Dai Greene failed to make the final of the 400m hurdles after finishing fifth in his heat although, in mitagation, he was still early into a comeback from injury.

There were high hopes for Brett Morse in the discus but he could only finish fifth in his final.

But elsewhere, Welsh competitors rose above the turbulence that at one point threatened to envelop the whole team in the athletes' village.

Their catalyst and inspiration was gymnast Frankie Jones. The 23-year-old won six medals in the ryhthmic competitions at the SECC, the final one being gold - Wales' first of the Games - in the individual ribbon.

The rest of her haul - making her the country's most successful athlete at a single Commonwealth Games - was made up of silvers, four from individual events and the other in the team competition.

Natalie Powell won gold in the -78kg judo category and there was further glory in the pool.

Jazz Carlin took the 800m freestyle title, becoming Wales' first swimming gold medallist in 40 years, and was followed to the top of the podium by Georgia Davies after the 50m freestyle.

It was not even all doom and gloom in track and field. Sally Peake took silver in the pole vault and London 2012 Paralympic champion Aled Davies claimed silver in his discus event.

And with five bronze medals collected in the boxing ring and a handful of medals coming from cycling, chef de mission Brian Davies can certainly look back on a job well done.

There will doubtless be inquiries into the various issues which cropped up in and around the Games but the red dragon should flutter proudly at the closing ceremony.