Se­lec­tion is a ‘dream come true’ for ath­lete

Cynon Valley - - YOUR NEWS - TOM HOUGHTON tom.houghton@waleson­line.co.uk

A RHONDDA man has said be­ing named in the Team Wales squad for the Com­mon­wealth Games is a “dream come true”.

Rhys Jones will rep­re­sent his coun­try in the men’s 100m event (T37) at Gold Coast, Aus­tralia, next year.

Rhys, 23, said: “Be­ing se­lected for my sec­ond Com­mon­wealth Games is such an hon­our. I never thought I would rep­re­sent Wales at a Com­mon­wealth Games in the first place, but to do it twice in a row is a dream come true.

“I al­ways rep­re­sent Rhondda Cynon Taf in ev­ery­thing that I do and con­vey my most sin­cere thanks to the coun­cil’s Sport RCT and Dis­abil­ity Sport Wales for their con­tin­ued sup­port on my jour­ney.”

It’s his sec­ond games hav­ing pre­vi­ously been se­lected for Glas­gow in 2014.

At the age of two, Rhys was crit­i­cally ill with vi­ral en­cephali­tis.

He was re­sus­ci­tated three times and was in a coma for 12 days. When he woke up, he had no move­ment down the left side of his body.

His vi­sion was im­paired, and he also had epilepsy as well as mem­ory and emo­tional prob­lems, leav­ing him with no con­fi­dence or self-es­teem.

But this all changed when he de­cided to join the RCT Tigers Foot­ball Club at the age of 14, and in the same year joined an ath­let­ics club where his coach recog­nised his im­pres­sive speed. He was en­tered into the 2009 Spe­cial Olympics and has been run­ning ever since, win­ning medals and tro­phies along the way.

Coun­cil­lor Ann Crim­mings, Rhondda Cynon Taf coun­cil’s cab­i­net mem­ber for en­vi­ron­ment and leisure, said: “Rhys is a great sport­ing am­bas­sador in Rhondda Cynon Taf and is en­cour­ag­ing and in­spir­ing a whole new gen­er­a­tion to take up sport.

SPORTINGWALES - IAN COOK

Rhys Jones cel­e­brates win­ning bronze at the Com­mon­wealth Games in 2014

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