“I’ll have lots of friends and family there and I’m a very patriotic man, so having it in Wales will be very special."
Welsh hero Aled Davies is hoping to reward his supporters at August’s 2014 IPC Athletics European Championships in Swansea, Great Britain, with a history-making throw of more than 50 metres in the discus F42.
Davies set a world record distance of 48.69m at May’s IPC Athletics Grand Prix in Grosseto, Italy, and now the proud Welshman insists another record is on its way.
And with a proven record of performing on the biggest stages, Davies, 23, says Swansea could be the place where he finally breaks through the 50m barrier.
He said: “I know I can do it. It’s coming. I’m biding my time, but I have a strong feeling that it’s going to happen when it matters most, which is the European Championships. It would be a nice place to do it!”
He added: “Last year I did my two best throws, and the world record, at the World Championships, and I did my best throw the year before in the Paralympic Games.
“There’s no reason why I can’t do that again, especially with the big crowd and the adrenaline. Just being in a big competition always spurs me on to perform better.”
A gold medal and a new world record in Swansea would certainly cap a remarkable 12 months for Davies.
In 2013 he was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List, and in 2014 was named captain of the Welsh squad for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.
Prior to the 2014 season Davies underwent surgery on a long-standing foot injury, casting doubt on whether he would ever regain his best form.
But he has answered those questions in stunning fashion, and is now determined to keep pushing forward in his chosen disciplines of discus and shot put – especially in Swansea.
“You’ve got to take these opportunities to show everyone what you’ve got,” he said.
“You don’t get to go to big Championships every day, so I see them as my opportunity to show what I’ve got and what I’ve been working all year for. I thrive on it. I love the pressure, the crowd and the atmosphere – it really gets me going and I can’t wait to get involved.”
Victory for Davies in Swansea would also complete a remarkable treble, having already claimed gold at the Paralympic Games and World Championships.
He said: “This is the only medal I haven’t got and it would be nice to add it to the collection, but it’s not going to be easy.
“I’m the guy at the top, and everyone wants to beat me. It’s a tough position, but it’s something I’ve got to contend with and I’m learning every day how to deal with it.”
Now Bridgend-born Davies is hoping for huge local support at the European Championships to cap off a dream summer.
“I’ll have lots of friends and family there and I’m a very patriotic man, so having it in Wales will be very special. London was amazing, but this is in Wales and it’s great for us to have such a big event.
“I’m hoping the people of Wales will come out in their thousands, create a big atmosphere, get behind the athletes and spur them on to produce their best.”
Davies will be one of 600 athletes from 40 countries competing at the Swansea 2014 IPC Athletics European Championships.
Tickets for the event at Swansea University are now on-sale and can be purchased via the Swansea tickets website. Prices start from £3 per session.
Media accreditation for the event is also now open via the Swansea website.