London 2012 Paralympic athlete Rhys Jones is encouraging teenagers in Rhondda Cynon Taf to follow their dreams and become Young Ambassadors for the area.
The 18-year-old Gold Ambassador was the toast of Rhondda Cynon Taf at the 2012 Games, competing in the 200m Final having qualified through his heat with a Personal Best time.
Rhys started his Paralympics dream after gaining his confidence by joining a local disability football side and was one of four Rhondda Cynon Taf residents selected for the Paralympics GB squad, the others being Samantha Bowen (sitting volleyball), Nyree Kindred (swimming) and Sara Head (table tennis).
Rhys said he was delighted to attend Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Young Ambassadors Day, held at the Glamorgan Sports Park.
The day began with an ‘Ice Breakers’ session, aimed at bringing the young people together in a relaxed atmosphere through improvisation, song and dance and party games.
Rhys, a Rhondda Cynon Taf Council Gold Ambassador, shared his 2012 Paralympic experiences with all those who attended in a bid to inspire others to take up sport.
Having loved sport since a young age, he admits he lacked confidence until he joined RCT Tigers Disabled Football Club, founded by Rhondda Cynon Taf Council. He became a Gold Young Ambassador for the area in 2009.
The event at Glamorgan Sports Park was attended by 40 Young Ambassadors from 13 secondary schools, including two special schools. The youngsters were asked what the London 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympics meant to them, and what experiences they have had and what projects they have been involved in with their schools and communities.
Cllr Robert Bevan, Cabinet Member for Sustainable Development, Leisure and Tourism, said: “Rhys is only 18 and has a great future ahead of him in athletics. He is a fantastic ambassador for his sport, for Rhondda Cynon Taf and the whole of Wales.
“Disability is no obstacle and Rhys is a perfect example of what can be achieved if you are totally dedicated and committed to being the best in your field.
“We are so proud he is a Gold Young Ambassador for Rhondda Cynon Taf, promoting the 2012 Olympic Legacy. It was a brilliant year for sport - it is our job to keep that momentum going.
“Hopefully the GB success in London will inspire the young people of Rhondda Cynon Taf to follow their own dreams. We have fantastic sport and leisure facilities across the County Borough at all of our 11 leisure centres.
“This could be the first step to sporting success at a local, national and even an international level. After all, it is at grass roots level where Rhys began his Paralympics dream.”
Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Leisure Services has a dedicated Sport RCT Team to help you get involved. Regardless of age, interest or ability, the team can help you find a sport or activity that is perfect for you.
Simply make contact and tell them where you live and what you are interested in - and they can do the rest by making recommendations for clubs and classes, finding your nearest team and supporting you to get involved.
Find out what facilities and classes are available at Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s leisure centres
If you have a disability and want to get involved in sport at grass roots level, contact Sport RCT on 01443 490242 or email firstname.lastname@example.org