Welsh Olympic, Paralympic athletes' welcome home parade

Wales' Olympians and Paralympians have been welcomed at a ceremony in Cardiff Bay attended by hundreds of people.

About 40 of the 68 London 2012 Games athletes gathered on the Senedd steps, where crowds cheered them.

Among those there were Olympic gold medallists Tom James and Jade Jones and Paralympic champions Mark Colbourne, Aled Davies and Josie Pearson.

Some athletes addressed the crowd and paid tribute to their support.

Welsh athletes won a record seven medals at the Olympic Games - two more than in Beijing, while in the Paralympics, they matched their total of four years ago with 14.

Among the medal haul, three golds were won at both the Olympics and Paralympics.

The First Minister Carwyn Jones addressed the crowd who had gathered to see the athletes who had taken part in the London 2012 Games.

Each athlete's name was read out individually before they went onto the stage in front of the cheering crowd.

The gold medallists came on last to huge applause.

Paracyclist Colbourne, who won a gold and two silvers told the crowd: "It's been a completely epic journey for me and my family."

Aled Davies, who won gold medal in the discus and bronze in the shot put, said: "It's your support that has made these Games. I can't thank you enough."

Taekwondo gold medallist Jade Jones, 19, from Flint said: "I'm overwhelmed with the support from the start to finish of the Games.

"The Games are over but people are still here."

Wrexham rower Tom James said he hoped the inspiration was there for "us athletes to go to clubs and schools" and continue the momentum from the Games.

'Absolutely brilliant'

Paralympic table tennis bronze medallist Sara Head said: "I know that we've got some great entertainment for everybody, and that basically we're doing a little parade and coming out on the steps and we get to say thank you to everyone and to show off our medals."

Head was part of the parade in London for Britain's Olympians and Paralympians on Monday, which she described as "absolutely brilliant", and where she met rowing legend Sir Steve Redgrave, Zara Phillips, who won an eventing Olympic silver, comedian Rowan Atkinson, and singer Katherine Jenkins.

During the Cardiff event, performers from the Cultural Olympiad in Wales performed along with Abergavenny Borough Brass Band, the Celtic Cafe ensemble of traditional musicians and Ebbw Vale male choir.

Composer Lloyd Coleman, 19, who played clarinet in the British Paraorchestra alongside Coldplay in the Paralympics closing ceremony, also performed.

However, there was disruption as six protesters scaled scaffolding on the outside of Cardiff Bay's Pierhead building.

They were protesting at the involvement of Olympics' sponsor IT firm Atos, which carries out "fit for work" assessments for the UK government.

The evening ended with ticker tape and the singing of the British and Welsh anthems.

Ellen Jones, 22, from Clydach Vale in the Rhondda, went along to support her brother, Paralympian athlete Rhys Jones, who competed in the T37 100m and 200m.

She said the celebration had been brilliant.

"It was so nice to see the Olympians and being celebrated in the same way," she said.

"When Rhys came up on the stage and they called out his name and everyone cheered, it was fantastic - my little brother, unbelievable!"

Her best friend Sarah Berbillion, 22, from Tonyrefail, added: "It was fab. It was such a fantastic celebration.

"Just seeing the smiles on their faces was absolutely fantastic."

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