Secretary of State for Wales, Cheryl Gillan will today [24 May 2012] visit businesses, sports specialists and elite athletes to pay tribute to the vital role Wales is playing to support London 2012.
Following a recent trade visit to South East Asia where she witnessed the signing of a £6m deal between the Royal Mint and Thai Treasury, the Welsh Secretary was back in South Wales to view the striking of the Paralympic medals at Royal Mint’s Headquarters in Llantrisant.
Mrs Gillan will join Paralympic athlete Nathan Stephens and National Performance Manager Anthony Hughes for a tour of the Mint’s ‘Athena cell’, where the medals are produced, before visiting Bridgend-based Olympic supplier First4Numbers.
The business provides a range of sporting supplies for races and major sporting events and will provide athlete vest numbers for competitive events at this year’s 2012 Games. The Secretary of State last visited First4Numbers with the Prime Minister in 2011 and will return to the factory to meet Managing Director Darren Powell and his team, to hear about the company’s role as a Games supplier and its impact on the firm.
The Royal Mint and First4Numbers are just two of the many Welsh companies helping to make the Games possible. The visits come as the Government releases latest information showing how Wales is playing its part in making London 2012 happen.
The Welsh Secretary will later visit Sport Wales in Cardiff where she will be met by its Chair, Laura McAllister. The Welsh Secretary will be given a guided tour of the new Elite Athlete Performance Area where she will meet double Olympic swimming medallist David Davies, from Barry, Paralympic athletics hopeful Aled Sion Davies from Bridgend, as well as Glasgow 2014 & Rio 2016 gymnastic hopeful Raer Theaker from Cardiff.
She will also meet members of the support team who work with the athletes to prepare them for the various physical demands of their sports.
Mrs Gillan said: “Wales is making an amazing contribution to London 2012. I am incredibly proud that the number Usain Bolt will have on his kit and the medals we hope to see hanging on our great Olympians and Paralympians are made in Wales.”
“I am also delighted to be able to witness first hand the extraordinary hard work and dedication going on out on the track, in the gym and behind the scenes in Wales to boost Team GB’s medal hopes.
“This is an exciting year for the whole of the UK with both the Olympic Games and the Diamond Jubilee taking place and all nations have an opportunity to shine. The eyes of the world will be on us. So let’s embrace this opportunity to showcase everything that’s great about Wales and ensure a lasting legacy long after the games are over.
“The Welsh athletes taking part in the Games are inspiring a new generation not just to get involved in sports, but also to work hard to reach their goals. I wish everyone involved in bringing even more sporting glory to Wales the very best of luck.” Professor Laura McAllister, Chair of Sport Wales said:
“With the Olympic torch arriving into Wales tomorrow (25 May 2012), the clock is now ticking down to what will be the greatest marketing campaign we’ll have ever seen in the UK for sport. Here in Wales, we want to be world-renowned as a successful sporting nation, where winning is expected and future generations are inspired to be active. We’re looking forward to showing the Welsh Secretary the behind the scenes work that is undertaken at Sport Wales to ensure our athletes can perform at the very best.”
Vin Wijeratne, Director of Finance at the Royal Mint said: “In this celebratory year when the eyes of the world turn to the United Kingdom I am delighted to welcome the Secretary of State to the Royal Mint.
We are immensely proud and honoured to be able to strike and handcraft each of the 4,700 Olympic and Paralympic victory medals. More than 800 local people are employed by the Royal Mint, and now each one will be able to tell their grandchildren that they, and South Wales, had a hand in creating a piece of Olympic history.”
Darren Powell, Managing Director of First4Numbers said:
“First 4 Numbers are really pleased to play a small but vital role in the London 2012 Olympics.
“It is a great opportunity for a company based in Wales to provide competitor numbers for such a famous event. It is testament to the quality of work provided by the company.”
- View and download HD broadcast-quality footage of Cheryl Gillan talking about Wales and the Olympic and Paralympic Games at: