Awards have seemed to come in thick and fast for Aled Davies and there is no sign of it slowing down after the thrower was nominated for the Wales Sports Personality of the Year this week.
The 25 year old will go up against the likes of European Championships semi-finalist Gareth Bale, double Olympic taekwondo gold medallist Jade Jones and ParalympicsGB teammate Hollie Arnold on an eight-person shortlist.
“This is my fourth time I’ve been nominated for this award. It’s always very humbling to be recognised for my sporting achievements for the year and alongside other world-class athletes as well.
“I am big fans of all the guys that have been nominated and to have such icons like Gareth Bale, who has done such big things for Wales leading its most successful ever team. He really did inspire a generation. For my achievements to be seen alongside his and to be celebrated with him, it’s an absolute honour.”
Davies, who is unbeaten at major championships since 2013 continued in similar dominant fashion winning F42 shot put gold at the Paralympic Games in Rio. The pressure was on the Welshman aptly nicknamed the ‘Big Bear’ going into the competition, but that didn’t show winning with a distance of 15.97m – a metre further than his nearest rival.
However, after going over the magic 16 metre barrier on six occasions last year and extending his world record to 16.38m, he was left with a burning desire to make sure that he met his lofty expectations at next year’s World ParaAthletics Championships in London.
“I definitely was a case of what might have been, because I was in shape to go 16.50m plus in Rio. I don’t think it matters now because we came home with the right colour (medal). It does make me excited because the things I did wrong this time, I can get ironed out and corrected by the time London 2017 comes around.
“London 2017 is going to be very nostalgic. London 2012 was an absolute game-changer for para sport especially in Britain. I think being back in that stadium in front of a home crowd makes it even more special. I’m really excited and it’s going to be a lovely way of reminding everyone of how hard we’ve worked and how much we’ve improved in five years. It is probably going to be one of the biggest competitions of my career.”
The four-time World Champion is wary of the pressure that comes with his record-breaking feats, but is not getting ahead of himself in his quest for more gold medals in London next year.
“I am a student of my sport and I’m always learning. I know I can always be better and I think that’s the key because it’s all good being at the top, but it’s harder staying there. I just want to make sure I do stay there, so I need to keeping pushing myself and pushing my distances away from everyone else.
“I don’t think it’s hard. I never take it for granted; I never think I am far ahead. I always train like I’m not the best and there’s someone out there better than me. Every time I go into a competition I prepare for the worst case scenario and that’s for someone to go out there and break my world record. I think that’s the way you’ve got to be. If you’re comfortable being comfortable, you can get yourself in a lot of trouble. I always say it’s good to be uncomfortable and never satisfied.”
What has become noticeable from his triumphs is Davies’ exuberant post-event celebrations. While there is no dress rehearsal before going out on the field, he admits that he will go wild once again if he’s victorious on home turf in 2017.
“Celebration is something that I never think about. All I’m thinking about is being the best I can be when it matters and executing that process like we did in Rio. If that all falls into place and I come out as the best man on the day then I’m sure you’ll see some crazy celebrations in the stadium again.”
A champion never sleeps and rest assured, Davies will leave no stone unturned on his quest for glory.
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