Students picked for Wales team at Commonwealth Games
24 January 2018
Two Cardiff University students have been selected for the Wales team at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia.
Medical student Lewis Oliva, 25, has been selected in the cycling sprint while Coral Kennerley, 23, who is studying mechanical engineering, will compete in pistol shooting.
Their selection follows a previous announcement that Cardiff University student Dean Bale will represent England in rifle shooting at the Games.
Lewis, from Devauden in Monmouthshire, has enjoyed a highly successful year, becoming British national Keirin champion and competing against some of the world’s top cyclists in the Tissiot UCI World Cup series, where he claimed a silver in Milton, Canada in the Keirin.
He also secured a spot in the Great Britain team for the World Track Cycling Championships, making his world championship debut in April in Hong Kong.
Lewis made headlines earlier this month when his specialist cycling shoes were stolen from his partner’s car outside the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff. Fortunately, following a public appeal, the shoes were found discarded in an alleyway and returned to him.
Lewis said: “This is my third Commonwealth Games and obviously it's really exciting to be named in the team travelling to Australia.
“It has been a big focus for both the cycling team and me, and what has made this time around extra special is the great support I've received from Cardiff University - in particular, the high performance programme and the medical school. Training has been going really well and I look forward to mixing it up in a few months.
“Since enrolling at Cardiff University I've been fortunate enough to become British champion and perform consistently on the world stage, winning a number of World Cup medals. The Commonwealth Games presents a huge opportunity to top this season off. It's always extra special to pull on the Welsh jersey, a proud moment for any Welshman.”
Watch how Lewis Oliva juggles elite sport with a Medical degree
Fellow Cardiff University student Coral, from Aberystwyth in Ceredigion, has a sense of unfinished business after illness affected her performance at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games four years ago.
Coral said: “I'm really excited to be competing for Wales in my second Commonwealth Games.
“Having been hit by glandular fever two months before the Glasgow Commonwealth Games in 2014, I'm determined to improve on my performance in the Gold Coast in April.
“It's an honour to be able to represent Wales at such a big competition. It's going to be great to see our small nation come together as a team on the other side of the world.”
Coral, who has been selected for Great Britain at the World University Shooting Championships in Malaysia in March, is the current Welsh and British women’s champion.
See how Coral Kennerley succeeds in her chosen sport and studies
University Head of Sport Stuart Vanstone said: “It’s brilliant news to hear of Lewis and Coral’s qualification for the Gold Coast.
“Both have had previous experience of competing in the Commonwealth Games, with Lewis competing previously in Delhi in 2010 and both Lewis and Coral being part of Team Wales for the Glasgow games in 2014.”
The selection of Coral and Lewis for Wales followed news in December that Dean Bale, another Cardiff University student, had been selected to represent England in rifle shooting at Gold Coast 2018.
Computer science student Dean, 20, from Barnstaple in Devon, said: “When I found out that I was selected to represent England at my first Commonwealth Games, I was thrilled that all the hard work I put into training and competing had paid off.
“I competed at the Commonwealth Shooting Federation Championship, which is the test event for the Commonwealth Games, in November and made the final, finishing in fifth. So I’m feeling pretty confident that I will hopefully make the final and, with the training plan I have laid out, I’m hoping to go out there and improve on my fifth place finish.”
Head of Sport Stuart added: “All of the students have been able to balance their studies and the demanding training session schedules leading to selection.
“I have no doubt that given the dedication and commitment shown by Lewis, Coral and Dean, they will do themselves and the University proud with their performances. Good luck and we will all be watching, cheering you on.”
All three athletes are part of the University’s high performance programme, which helps students excel at in both their sporting and academic careers during their time at Cardiff.
The programme offers a range of support including strength and conditioning training, fitness testing and assessments, access to sports psychologists, free membership of all University sports facilities, free branded kit and potential financial awards.
The Commonwealth Games take place at the Gold Coast from 4-15 April this year.