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Strong showing in Cardiff

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WELSH Athletics’ busy schedule of indoor competition came to an end with the 2019 edition of the Welsh Athletics Under 20 Indoor International.

A season that has hosted events such as the Junior & Senior Indoor Athletics Championships and the Cardiff Met Grand Prix, the National Indoor Athletics Centre in Cyncoed Campus, Cardiff provided an ideal venue for producing an excellent end-of-season competition featuring top class athletes from both countries.

It saw Junior teams from Wales and England compete and they were joined by a haul of guest athletes who were also invited to compete in specified events. Welsh Athletics’ Under 20 team was selected last month and included a strong team of over 30 junior athletes full of club and international experience.

Carmarthen Harriers and Ceredigion’s Lili Church and Beca Roberts deservedly received their Welsh International call ups to the team, despite the two still being under 17 athletes. They are used to competing on the big stage by now, having had the experience of travelling to Scotland for the SIAB Schools and Celtic Games International last summer. The Schools International will surely be another event for them to aim for when it arrives in Swansea in July 2019.

Back in Cardiff, Roberts was the first to put on the vest in the women’s triple jump. Beca, up against two of England’s stars, produced six legal jumps on her way to a best of 10.74m in third which was just shy of her personal best this year. Throughout the competition, she also went to 10.52m, 10.66m, 10.67m and 10.70m and was one of the first athletes to score for Wales.

Towards the half way mark in the afternoon and as the competition was hotting up, the high jump bed made an appearance at the end of the 60m straight. This is where Lili Church aimed to test herself in a high-quality women’s high jump field. Again, England were first and second individually with Church clearing heights of 1.51m, 1.56m and 1.61m on her way to fifth and a positive result.

Third member Osian Roberts was also in action. He was invited to participate in the combined under 15 boys and girls triple jump development event, following the regional development day in Cardiff last year. Eight athletes went in this one with Roberts winning the overall competition with a leap of 9.66m performed in the opening round.

All three have been in fine form over the 2018 & early 2019 indoor season in the high jump, hurdles, combined events and triple jump under the guidance of Dorrien Thomas.

This included gold medal winning performances at the West Wales Indoor Athletics Championships and Welsh Athletics Junior Indoor Championships recently.

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Wales v Scotland postponed

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WALES’ Six Nations match at home to Scotland on Saturday has been postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The two other Six Nation fixtures had already been postponed and no date has been confirmed to complete the 2020 Championship.

The Welsh Rugby Union had insisted earlier on Friday the game would “go ahead as planned”.

A WRU statement read: “The Welsh Rugby Union has maintained an open dialogue with, and continued to seek advice and direction from, the National Assembly for Wales and other stakeholders, including the Six Nations, on this fast-moving issue.

“Whilst medical advice remains consistent, we have decided that it is in the best interests of supporters, players and staff to fall in line with recent measures taken across the UK and global sports industries.

“The WRU would like to thank all parties for their counsel on the subject and will make further announcements with respect to rescheduling the fixture in the coming days.

“Every effort has been made to stage this game and we appreciate that individuals will have been inconvenienced. Given the fluid and unprecedented nature of this issue a postponement became the only viable option.”

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Domestic football at all levels in Wales suspended

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THE FOOTBALL Association of Wales has today (13 March) taken the decision to suspend domestic football at all levels in Wales with immediate effect until April 4 due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The intention at this time will be to resume the football schedule depending on the medical advice and conditions from the relevant authorities at that time.

The FAW is fully aware of the impact this will have on the domestic game but the health and safety of all fans, players, volunteers and stakeholders are of paramount importance.

The FAW will continue to monitor this situation on a day-by-day basis and will continue to provide updates when appropriate.

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Sport

Exercise Referral Scheme doing more for health intervention than ever before

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A record 35,069 participants attended Exercise Referral classes during 2640 hours of health classes in 2019.

The National Exercise Referral Scheme (NERS) is an evidence-based health intervention scheme which incorporates physical activity and behavioural change techniques to support referred clients to make lifestyle changes to improve their health and well-being.

NERS Ceredigion has seen a dramatic increase in demand over the past year. A coordinator and four full time exercise professionals work to deliver the scheme, delivering 73 classes per week. The age of participants range from 16 years old, with the eldest participant in Ceredigion being 95.

Exercise class options include Gym, Circuit, Postural Stability (seated), Spin Bikes, Aqua Aerobics, Tai Chi and Pilates. Venues include council and community centres in Aberystwyth, Aberaeron, Lampeter, Tregaron, Cardigan and Llandysul.

Councillor Catrin Miles, Cabinet member with responsibility for Leisure, highlighted the benefits of the scheme, “There are many physical, psychological and social benefits to being part of the scheme, including confidence-building, better self-esteem, meeting new people and being generally fitter and healthier. Ceredigion Actif’s highly qualified Health Intervention Team provide opportunities to exercise that are fun, rewarding and that can be incorporated into everyday life.”

NERS Ceredigion targets people with a medical condition through various pathways including generic, cardiac rehabilitation, pulmonary, PSI falls, stroke rehabilitation, mental health, cancer and weight management. The 16 week tailored programme of exercise is delivered by a team of specialist Level 4 qualified exercise professionals who guide referred participants towards realising their individual goals.

A participant in Aberystwyth said, “This has been the best thing I have ever done. I have thrived from doing different activities and pushing myself out of my comfort zone which has not only helped my self-esteem but also my depression and everything else including my pain. I have also made new friends which I didn’t even consider would happen and we’re not only being social but we’re having fun too which is a bonus”.

There is ongoing monitoring from the instructors with follow up assessments at 16 weeks as well as on completion at 52 weeks. Long-term ‘maintenance’ options are available post 16 weeks which include the continuation of exercise classes as well as opportunities to join clubs such as walking basketball, walking football, golf sessions and walking rugby.

During 2018-2019 there were 913 referrals to the scheme. To gain access to the scheme, a person needs to be referred by a Health Professional, usually a GP, Practice Nurse or a condition specific Physiotherapist.

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