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Last Updated: Monday, 27 March 2006, 12:35 GMT 13:35 UK
Wales reach Commonwealth target
David Davies celebrates his 1500m freestyle gold medal
David Davies was undoubtedly Wales' star in Melbourne
Wales reached their target at the 2006 Commonwealth Games, even though the 19 medals fell 12 short of their record haul four years ago in Manchester.

But with the absence of judo - which yielded six medals last time - and fewer medals on offer in weightlifting, it represents an equivalent success.

Swimmer David Davies, shooter David Phelps and weightlifter Michaela Breeze were the golden stars in Melbourne.

But the lack of any medals in the men's athletics was a significant stain.

It was the first time a Welshman had failed to get on the rostrum since 1950.

Injury scuppered the hopes of strong medal contenders Tim Benjamin and Christian Malcolm, but 2002 silver medallist Matt Elias failed to live up to expectation in the 400m hurdlers.

The one exception was Rhys Williams, who made up for Elias' failure with three personal bests and a Welsh record when he finished fourth in the same event.

Team Wales chef de mission Anne Ellis said: "He couldn't have done any more - he is the young talent coming through.

Michaela Breeze
Michaela Breeze was a class apart in the weightlifting

"But when you look at his time compared to the rest of the world, it is seconds down."

The women managed three medals in track and field as Julie Crane won a surprise silver in the high jump, Hayley Tullett won bronze in the 1500m, and Beverley Jones took bronze in the 100m for elite athletes with a disability.

But long-distance swimmer Davies was the undoubted star of the Games as he won gold in the 1500m freestyle by a massive 12-second margin.

Injury to Olympic champion and home favourite Grant Hackett had denied the spectators what could have been the most dramatic races of the Games.

But Australia's loss was definitely Wales' gain as 21-year-old Davies, who also won bronze in the 400m freestyle, captured the nation's first swimming title in 32 years.

Weightlifter Breeze produced a record-breaking series of lifts to take gold in the women's 63kg category.

The 26-year-old, who had knee surgery just before Christmas, actually lifted more than two men in the heavyweight category final.

The final gold came in the 50m prone rifle as Phelps ensured Wales had a shooting champion for the fifth time in the last six Games.

And his reward for taking gold? An extra day-off from his boss at a Cardiff supermarket!

Betty Morgan on her way to silver in the women's singles
Morgan on her way to silver in the women's singles

Boxing accounted for most of the medals as super heavyweight Kevin Evans led the way with silver in his farewell bout.

Light flyweight Mo Nasir exceeded expectations with some thrilling displays on his way to bronze, while light welterweight Jamie Crees and featherweight Darren Edwards also took bronze.

Edwards had a never-to-be-forgotten experience before a punch was thrown when he sat next to the Queen during the pre-Games banquet.

"She started talking about diets," revealed the 25-year-old. "One of the athletes asked her if she'd ever had a McDonald's.

"She said she never had, but said she had been in one!"

Betty Morgan produced one of the Games' most enduring images as the 63-year-old proved age was no barrier by winning silver in the women's singles bowls.

Robert Weale matched Morgan's feat in the men's event when he lost his final in a tie-breaker against Australian champion Kelvin Kerkow.

Nicole Cooke and Geraint Thomas put aside pre-Games injuries aside to take a creditable bronze apiece in world-class cycling fields.

And Los Angeles-based David Eaton brought of Hollywood to proceedings when he claimed Wales' first ever Commonwealth Games gymnastic medal with silver in the horizontal bar.

So a successful Games for Wales in terms of medals won, and if the athletes can get back on track it bodes well for Delhi in four years time.



Links to more Commonwealth Games stories


 


SEE ALSO
Wales medal winners list
26 Mar 06 |  Results
Wales' Davies claims gold in pool
21 Mar 06 |  Commonwealth Games
More success for British shooters
22 Mar 06 |  Commonwealth Games
Breeze lands Welsh lifting gold
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Eaton proud after historic silver
21 Mar 06 |  Commonwealth Games
Welsh bowlers settle for silvers
24 Mar 06 |  Commonwealth Games
Evans bows out with Games silver
25 Mar 06 |  Commonwealth Games
Boxing trio fall in semi-finals
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Cooke happy with road-race bronze
26 Mar 06 |  Commonwealth Games
Scots & Welsh win cycling bronzes
17 Mar 06 |  Commonwealth Games
Wales pair take shooting bronze
18 Mar 06 |  Commonwealth Games


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