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9 Apr 2010

The first athletes to represent Wales at this year’s Commonwealth Games in Delhi were announced today following the selection of the men’s and women’s Lawn Bowls teams.

A total of 12 bowlers will be heading for the Indian capital for the October tournament – part of an expected near 200-strong Welsh squad.

mens and womens team shot, bowls, Delhi 2010

The teams of six men and six women are all members of the Wales elite bowls squads and, with an average age of 41, is the youngest ever group of players from the sport to represent Wales at a major international championship.

They will be taking part in the tournament from October 3-14 in three separate competitions – singles, pairs and triples events, seeking to improve on the two singles silver medals won by Wales at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne.

The Men’s Bowls Team, selected by the Welsh Men’s Bowling Association, will be made up of Robert Weale, Martin Selway, Jason Greenslade, Chris Blake, Andrew Fleming and Marc Wyatt, and managed by Phil Young.

Robert Weale portrait bowls, Delhi 2010Robert (47), from Presteigne in Mid Wales, a former World Indoor Singles Champion, silver medalist in the 2006 Commonwealth Games and record Welsh caps holder, will represent Wales in the Singles event.

Martin (44), from Caerphilly, gold medal Pairs winner at the 2007 Atlantic Championship, and Jason (40), from Dinas Powys, the current Welsh Indoor Singles Champion and 2009 Atlantic Championship Pairs gold medal winner, will play in Delhi in the Pairs event.

Chris (41), from Barry, the 1994 Welsh Fours and 2001 Welsh Pairs titles holder; Andrew (38) from Machynlleth, the 2009 British Isles and 2008 Welsh Fours champion; and Marc (32) from Caerphilly, the 2009 Atlantic Championship bronze medal winner in Triples and Fours, will play together in the Triples event.

The Women’s Bowls Team, selected by the Welsh Women’s Bowling Association, will be made up of Carol Difford, Anwen Butten, Hannah Smith, Kathy Pearce, Isabel Jones and Wendy Price. They will be led by team manager Hazel Wilson,and coaches Linda Evans and Gill Hughes.

Carol (58), from Bargoed, the reigning Welsh 4 and 2 Woods Singles champion, will represent Wales in the Singles event in Delhi. Anwen (37), from Lampeter, and Hannah (23) from Carmarthen, both 2009 Atlantic Championship Gold Medal winners, will play in the Pairs.Hannah Smith

Kathy (47), and Isabel (54), both from Berriew, and Wendy (38) from Llandrindod Wells, all in Powys, who are also Atlantic Championship Gold Medal winners, will take part in the Triples event.

Both teams are confident of bringing home some medals from Delhi. Men’s Team manager Phil Young, from Pontardawe, a former Welsh Pairs champion and manager of the double-winning West Glamorgan County Championship team, said: "Wales has historically produced successful bowls teams in major international events. This one is particularly experienced and strong and includes some exceptional talents."

Women’s Team Manager Hazel Wilson, from Berriew, a former Welsh and British Isles Singles champion, said: "Welsh women’s bowling has gone from strength to strength, winning seven medals in World Bowls in New Zealand in 2008 and a total of 26 medals, including a team gold, in the Atlantic Championship in South Africa last year.

"We are a young team with a great future and it’s thanks to the support, investment and encouragement of Welsh bowling clubs and counties that the team has the opportunity to play at international level, representing Wales."

The Commonwealth Games bowls competitions will take place over nine consecutive days in the 75,000-capacity Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Delhi – the tournament’s main venue which will also host the opening and closing ceremonies as well as the full athletics programme.

Up to 8,000 competitors from 71 countries – including up to 200 Welsh athletes – will compete in 17 sports in the 2010 Games from October 3-14.

The tournament is the only multi-sport international event in which Wales competes as a country in its own right, and Welsh athletes hold 15 current Commonwealth Games records in 110 hurdles, 400 metres, cycling, shooting and weightlifting categories. Wales won 19 medals at the Melbourne Games four years ago.