The "boy from Rhondda" becomes a man with European silver medal in Berlin

Yahoo Sport UK
Jones feared his medal moment wouldn’t come in Berlin
Jones feared his medal moment wouldn’t come in Berlin

In his own words he is “just a boy from Rhondda on the big stage” but now Welsh running machine Rhys Jones is a World Para Athletics European silver medallist.

For the best part of a week Jones has been wondering what if, with a fourth-place finish in the 200m leaving him devastated about a Championships in which he might not medal.

But as he crossed the T37 100m line in 12.10 seconds, suddenly his characteristically beaming smile was back for all to see in Berlin.

In turn that added to the bronze medal from Swansea four years ago but, with this coming after a dash of heartbreak, the emotion came to the surface.

Already Jones had run his heart out to no avail but this was a chance of personal redemption, reclaiming a sense of self-belief that had otherwise been slipping away.

“I am over the moon. It has been a rollercoaster of a year, especially with the Commonwealth Games so earlier in the season,” he said.

“Times weren’t an issue it was about coming out and executing. I knew if I could execute I could win a medal.

“I said that after the 200m where it didn’t happen but it was my time to shine this time and I delivered on the big stage.

“You don’t come here to make up the numbers. A gold medal would have been great but after agonisingly missing out on the podium in the 200m, this is redemption.

“I am just a boy from Rhondda on the big stage and I have come away with a major medal again.”

Jones is no stranger to the big events having represented ParalympicsGB at both London 2012 and Rio 2016, also becoming a Commonwealth medallist in Glasgow four years ago.

But the 24-year-old harnesses ambitions of bigger honours, with this competition in Berlin touted as a large stepping stone for next year’s World Championships and the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.

That was on the proviso of winning a medal, duly obliging on Friday, not that he realised his achievement at the time.

“With my coordination impairment, the headwind took a lot out of me in the final and I honestly hadn’t thought I had won a medal – I was ready to cry on the track,” he added.

“But it was tears of joy instead of sadness at the end. I can’t see out of the corner of my left eye, that part of my vision is neglected so I was struggling to see what was going on.

“Every one who could win a medal was on my left side so as soon as I crossed the line I was trying to find out what was going on – my sight is appalling in general so the big screen was no use.

“To come away with a silver medal is a big upgrade from Swansea, I’ve worked hard for this and now I’ve got the rewards from it.”

British Athletics works alongside UK Sport and the National Lottery to support the delivery of success at the world’s most significant sporting events, principally the Olympic and Paralympic Games. They do this via the funded initiative, the World Class Programme, one part of the British Athletics pathway.

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