Rio 2016: Wales' biggest overseas Olympic contingent ready for opening ceremony

Geraint Thomas and Sir Chris Hoy
Geraint Thomas (left, with Britain's most successful Olympian Sir Chris Hoy) could become Wales' most successful Olympian for 96 years if he wins a third gold in Rio

The Rio 2016 Olympic Games opening ceremony takes place on Friday evening with Wales boasting a record number of athletes at an overseas Olympics.

London 2012 champions Jade Jones and Geraint Thomas lead the 23-strong Welsh contingent spread across 11 sports.

"They include current and former World, European and British champions," said Sport Wales chief Sarah Powell.

A record 30 Welsh athletes competed in London while the previous record for an overseas Games was 17 at Athens 2004.

The most successful Olympics for Welsh athletes was the 1920 Antwerp Games where Christopher Jones and Paulo Radmilovic won water polo gold while John Ainsworth-Davies and Cecil Griffiths were in the title-winning 4x400m relay team.

London 2012 was the largest overall Welsh medal haul of seven, when taekwondo star Jade Jones, cyclist Geraint Thomas and rower Tom James won gold, boxer Fred Evans, rower Chris Bartley and sailor Hannah Mills claimed silver, while Sarah Thomas won bronze in the hockey.

Sport Wales - the body responsible for developing and promoting sport and physical activity in Wales and distributing Lottery funds - has a rolling medal target of six to 10 medals across two Olympic Games cycles.

Taekwondo's 57kg class world number one Jade Jones is the only Welsh athlete defending their title.

Double team pursuit track champion cyclist Thomas will compete in the road race at the 2016 Games and he is set to be the first Welsh athlete in action in Rio on Saturday, 6 August - the day after the opening ceremony.

Here are the Welsh athletes who have qualified for the 31st Olympic Games in Brazil:


NAME: Seren Bundy-Davies

Seren Bundy-Davies

DISCIPLINE: 400m & 4x400m relay

DATE OF BIRTH: 30 December, 1994

FROM: Manchester

HONOURS: 4x400 gold at 2016 European Championships 2016, 4x400 bronze at 2015 World Championships

Bundy-Davies is Wales' only track and field athlete at Rio, the first time that has happened since the 1952 Helsinki Games in Helsinki. Ranked number 31 in the world, she is expected to win a relay medal, which would be Wales' first track and field medal since Jamie Baulch and Iwan Thomas won 4x400m silver at Atlanta 1996. The 21-year-old is studying at the University of Manchester for a biomedical science degree.


NAME: Joe Cordina

Joe Cordina

DISCIPLINE: Men's lightweight (60kg)

DATE OF BIRTH: 1 December, 1991

FROM: Cardiff

HONOURS: 2015 European Amateur champion, 2014 Commonwealth Games champion

The 24-year-old world number eight shares his St Joseph's stable in Newport with current featherweight world champion Lee Selby, 2012 Olympic welterweight silver medallist Fred Evans, 2010 Commonwealth bantamweight champion Sean McGoldrick and British flyweight champion Andrew Selby.


NAME: Elinor Barker

Elinor Barker

DISCIPLINE: Women's team pursuit

DATE OF BIRTH: 7 September, 1994

FROM: Cardiff

HONOURS: 2013 World & European team pursuit champion, 2014 World, European & World Cup team pursuit champion, 2015 World team pursuit runner-up, 2014 Commonwealth Games points race runner-up & scratch race bronze medallist

The 21-year-old joins the world record-breaking team pursuit squad alongside Laura Trott and Joanna Rowsell-Shand that will be hoping to defend their Olympic crown in Rio but the United States are favourite. The British team pursuit trio won gold in London in world record time. Barker is the youngest member of the British cycling team and started riding aged 10 to get out of swimming lessons.

NAME: Owain Doull

Owain Doull

DISCIPLINE: Men's team pursuit

DATE OF BIRTH: 2 May, 1993

FROM: Cardiff

HONOURS: 2013 European team pursuit champion, 2014 European team pursuit champion, 2015 World team pursuit runner-up & European team pursuit champion, 2016 World team pursuit runner-up.

The 23-year-old, like Elinor Barker, is in a British team pursuit squad that is defending an Olympic crown after winning gold in a world record time in London in 2012 - and Great Britain are favourites to retain their title. Welsh-speaking Doull, whose childhood ambition was to be a fireman, gave up a promising rugby career to join the British Cycling Junior Academy aged 14.

NAME: Ciara Horne

Ciara Horne

DISCIPLINE: Women's team pursuit

DATE OF BIRTH: 17 September, 1989

FROM: Warwickshire (father from Penarth)

HONOURS: 2014 European & World Cup team pursuit champion, 2015 European team pursuit champion, 2016 World team pursuit bronze medallist

The former national junior swimmer and triathlete joined a cycling team in 2009 and joined the Welsh Cycling Performance Programme in 2012, representing Wales at the 2014 Commonwealth Games. Horne, born to an Irish mother and Welsh father, has a physiotherapy degree from the University of Birmingham.

NAME: Becky James

Becky James

DISCIPLINE: Women's sprint and keirin

DATE OF BIRTH: 29 November, 1991

FROM: Abergavenny

HONOURS: 2013 World keirin and sprint champion and team sprint and time trial bronze medallist, 2010 Commonwealth Games sprint silver and time trial bronze medallist, 2014 World team sprint and keirin bronze medallist, 2016 World keirin bronze medallist

James became the first Briton to win four medals at one World Track Cycling Championship at Minsk 2013 and the 24-year-old competes in the sprint event that her hero Victoria Pendleton won 2008 gold and 2012 silver at Olympic Games. James, a former junior show jumper who loves baking, is fifth favourite on her Olympic debut, with Kristina Vogel the bookies' choice.

NAME: Geraint Thomas

Geraint Thomas

DISCIPLINE: Men's road race

DATE OF BIRTH: 25 May, 1986

FROM: Cardiff

HONOURS: TRACK: 2008 & 2012 Olympic team pursuit champion, 2007, 2008 & 2012 World team pursuit champion, 2014 Commonwealth Games road race champion ROAD: 2016 Paris-Nice champion, 2015 & 2016 Tour of Algarve champion, 2015 E3 Harelbeke champion

Thomas is bidding to become Wales' most successful Olympic athlete for 96 years as the 30-year-old is aiming for his third successive Olympic gold at Rio. But he is expected to play the supporting role for Chris Froome as he did at the Tour de France. The 2014 BBC Cymru Wales Sports Personality of the Year, who lives in both Cardiff and Monaco, has a dog called Blanche and has just bought a Grade II listed mansion in south Wales to hire as a wedding venue.


NAME: Natalie Powell

Natalie Powell

DISCIPLINE: Women's -78 kg

DATE OF BIRTH: 16 October, 1990

FROM: Builth Wells

HONOURS: 2014 Commonwealth & Astana Grand Prix champion, 2013 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix runner-up, 2014 Samsun Grand Prix runner-up

The 25-year-old will become the first Welsh woman to compete in judo at the Olympics after beating 2012 silver medallist Gemma Gibbons to the -78kg Team GB place. The world number eight, whose hero is former England football captain David Beckham, started judo when introduced to the sport by friends at school.


NAME: Victoria Thornley

Victoria Thornley

DISCIPLINE: Double sculls

DATE OF BIRTH: 30 November, 1987

FROM: St Asaph

HONOURS: 2011 World bronze medallist (eight), 2015 European bronze medallist (double sculls)

The former equestrian rider and model was the first graduate of rowing's 'Sporting Giants' talent identification scheme to win a medal when she won the 2009 World Under-23 Championships. Thornley was fifth in the eight boat at London 2012 and now races alongside Katherine Grainger as the five-time Olympian defends the double sculls title in Rio.

NAME: Chris Bartley

Chris Bartley

DISCIPLINE: Men's lightweight four

DATE OF BIRTH: 2 February, 1984

FROM: Wrexham

HONOURS: 2010 World champion, 2012 Olympic silver medallist, 2007, 2011, 2013 & 2014 World runner-up, 2014 European runner-up

The 32-year-old, an ever-present in the four since 2009, was part of the lightweight men's four that missed out on gold by less than a second at London 2012. Bartley, who studied biology at the University of Nottingham, is one of Team GB's most experienced rowers.


NAME: James Davies

James Davies


DATE OF BIRTH: 25 October 1990

FROM: Carmarthen

HONOURS: 2012 Dubai Sevens Plate winner

The 25-year-old Scarlets flanker is the younger brother of Wales and British and Irish Lions centre Jonathan Davies. He is nicknamed 'Cubby' because his brother is known as Jon 'Fox' Davies because their parents ran the Fox & Hounds pub in the Carmarthenshire village of Bancyfelin. The former Wales Sevens captain impressed in the Pro12 in the 15-man game last season and was a contender for Wales' tour to New Zealand.

NAME: Sam Cross

Sam Cross


DATE OF BIRTH: 26 August, 1992

FROM: Abergavenny

The 23-year-old former Gwent county footballer who also represented Team GB at the World Student Championships in rugby league, is a centrally contracted Welsh Sevens international and has won 100 caps. Cross played for Cardiff Met University when studying a sport and exercise science scholarship.

NAME: Jasmine Joyce

Jasmine Joyce

AGE: 9 October, 1995

FROM: St David's

Joyce will be the only non-English representative in the Team GB female rugby squad. The 20-year-old, who was called up by Wales after impressing for the Pontyclun Falcons and the Scarlets, has taken a sabbatical from her university studies to concentrate on her rugby career.

TRAVELLING RESERVE: Luke Treharne (Wales)


NAME: Hannah Mills

Hannah Mills

DISCIPLINE: 470 class

DATE OF BIRTH: 29 February, 1988

FROM: Cardiff

HONOURS: 2012 Olympic 470 class runner-up, 2006 World 420 champion, 2012 World 470 champion, 2011 & 2015 World Championships 470 runner-up, 2014 European 470 runner-up

Mills and her crew Saskia Clark's gold hopes at the 2012 Games were blown off course by a wind shift in Weymouth and finished the medal race next to last, leaving them with silver. Mills, who started sailing aged just eight, is currently fourth in the world rankings but favourite to win in Rio.

NAME: Chris Grube

Chris Grube

DISCIPLINE: 470 class

DATE OF BIRTH: 22 January, 1985

FROM: Chester

HONOURS: 2014 World Cup Miami round bronze

Grube failed to qualify London 2012 after he was beaten to Team GB selection by Luke Patience and Stuart Bithell, who went on to win Olympic silver. He was dropped from the Royal Yachting Association elite Olympic Podium squad in 2014 because of poor results. But the 30-year-old was paired with Patience in January 2016 after Patience's initial partner Elliot Willis was forced to withdraw after being diagnosed with bowel cancer. They are now ranked third in the world.


NAME: Elena Allen

Elena Allen

DISCIPLINE: Women's Skeet

DATE OF BIRTH: 12 July, 1972

FROM: Blackwood

HONOURS: 2014 World team skeet champion and skeet runner-up, 2013 World team skeet runner-up and skeet bronze medallist, 2014 Welsh Commonwealth Games skeet silver medallist, 2006 English Commonwealth Games skeet pairs bronze medallist.

The 44-year-old, who will hope for an improvement at her third Olympics, was born in Moscow and her mother Tatiana Bogdanova was a World and European Championship shooting competitor for the Soviet Union. Allen moved to the UK aged 20 and married fellow shooter Malcolm Allen, who is now her coach. The world number 39 has a modern languages degree from the University of Bradford.


NAME: Jazz Carlin

Jazz Carlin

DISCIPLINE: 400m and 800m freestyle

DATE OF BIRTH: 17 September, 1990

FROM: Swindon (both parents Welsh)

HONOURS: 2014 Commonwealth & European 800m freestyle champion, 2014 European 400m freestyle runner-up, 2015 World 800m freestyle bronze medallist, 2010 Commonwealth 200m freestyle runner-up, 2009 World 4x200m freestyle relay bronze medallist

The Welsh record holder in 200m, 400m and 800m freestyle made her international swimming debut aged just 15 and became the first Welsh female swimmer to win a Commonwealth title since Pat Beavan in 1974. The Manchester United fan and qualified personal trainer is fourth in the world in her favoured 800m freestyle and is fourth favourite to win on her Olympic debut with defending champion and world record holder Katie Ledecky a huge odds-on favourite.

NAME: Georgia Davies

Georgia Davies

DISCIPLINE: 100m backstroke

DATE OF BIRTH: 11 October, 1990

FROM: Swansea

HONOURS: 2014 Commonwealth 50m backstroke champion and 100m backstroke runner-up, 2014 European 50m backstroke runner-up, 2010 Commonwealth 50m backstroke bronze medallist, 2016 European 50m backstroke bronze medallist & 4x100m medley & mixed medley relay champion, 2014 European 100m backstroke & 4x100m medley relay bronze medallist

Davies is a 250-1 rank outsider for 100m backstroke gold as her favoured 50m backstroke event is not included in the Olympic schedule. The 25-year-old was an Olympic semi-finalist at London 2012 and the world number 11 will be aiming for the final in Rio and hoping for relay success.

NAME: Ieuan Lloyd

Ieuan Lloyd

DISCIPLINE: 200m freestyle and individual medley

DATE OF BIRTH: July 9, 1993

FROM: Penarth

The City of Cardiff swimmer made his Olympic debut as a teenager at London 2012, finishing 19th in the 200m freestyle, but hasn't lived up to his early promise. The 23-year-old returned to form this year and is expected to feature in the 4x200m freestyle relay as well as 200m individual medley, where he is ranked 27th in the world..

NAME: Chloe Tutton

Chloe Tutton

DISCIPLINE: 200m breaststroke

DATE OF BIRTH: 17 July, 1996

FROM: Rhondda

HONOURS: 2016 European 100m breaststroke bronze medallist and 4x100m relay medley champion

Following an international debut at the 2014 Commonwealth Games, the 20-year-old has burst on to the scene within the last 12 months and won the British 200m breaststroke title ahead of European silver medallist Molly Renshaw - and in a British record time. Tutton narrowly missed the Olympic qualification time but her performance convinced selectors she should go to Rio and the world number five is an outside bet for a medal.


NAME: Jade Jones

Jade Jones


DATE OF BIRTH: 21 March, 1993

FROM: Flint

HONOURS: 2012 Olympic champion, 2015 European Games champion

HONOURS: 2012 Olympic 57kg champion, 2011 World 57kg runner-up, 2015 European Games 57kg champion, 2016 European 57kg champion, 2014 European Championships 57kg runner-up, 2010 European Championships 53kg bronze medallist, 2012 European Championships 57kg bronze medallist

Wales' only current world number one is favourite to retain the Olympic crown she won in such style as a teenager in London, the first taekwondo gold Great Britain have ever won. The 2012 BBC Cymru Wales Sports Personality of the Year, nicknamed 'The Headhunter' because of her style, was encouraged to take up the sport as a child by her grandfather because Jones was "quite naughty".


NAME: Non Stanford

Non Stanford

DATE OF BIRTH: 8 January, 1989

FROM: Swansea

HONOURS: 2013 ITU World triathlon champion, 2012 World under-23 triathlon champion

The 27-year-old was handpicked by double Olympic champion Kelly Holmes as a possible star of the future in her teenage years when Stanford was a promising distance runner. But Stanford, second favourite for Olympic gold in Rio behind reigning back-to-back world champion Gwen Jorgensen, converted after joining the University of Birmingham triathlon club during her sport and exercises sciences degree. Stanford is the first woman to win an Under-23 and senior world title.

NAME:Helen Jenkins

Helen Jenkins

DATE OF BIRTH: 8 March, 1984

FROM: Bridgend

HONOURS: 2008 & 2011 ITU triathlon world champion, 2011 ITU triathlon team world champion

Jenkins is among Britain's most consistent female athletes, achieving more World Triathlon Series podium finishes than any other British woman and winning the world title twice. Jenkins, who married British team-mate and coach Marc at Disney World in Florida in 2008, is preparing for her third Olympics and is third favourite as the 32-year-old hopes to improve on her 21st-placed finish at Beijing in 2008 and fifth at London 2012.

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