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IRONMAN 2023: A testament to human endurance and spirit

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TENBY, with its historic walls, sandy beaches and cobbled streets, is no stranger to hosting the challenging and iconic Ironman competition. This year’s event, slated for tomorrow, promises to showcase the same tenacity and spirit that this triathlon has come to be known for.

Hundreds of participants from across the globe have gathered in Tenby, undergoing grueling training sessions to brave the 2.4-mile swim, the 112-mile bike ride, and the 26.2-mile run. The tension is palpable in the coastal air as athletes, spectators, and the local community await the starting horn.

For many, the Ironman isn’t just about physical strength but also about mental fortitude. The participants are not only racing against one another, but against their own perceived limitations. This race is not just about who crosses the finish line first, but about conquering the personal challenges that this rigorous journey presents.

The Pembrokeshire coast offers a scenic yet demanding course. Athletes will first dive into the waters of North Beach for the swimming segment, then cycle through the rolling countryside and challenging climbs, culminating in a marathon that winds its way through Tenby’s historic streets.

Adding to the weekend’s events, the IronKids race took centre stage today. Celebrating the spirit of the sport and ensuring it continues to inspire the next generation, children aged 3 to 14 participated in age-appropriate race distances, proving that the ethos of endurance and perseverance runs deep regardless of age.

This event wasn’t just about competition, but also camaraderie and community. Families cheered as their little ones crossed the finish line, some sprinting, others jogging, but all with beaming faces filled with pride and achievement.

Ironman: Winners celebrate at the 2015 Ironman Wales event held in Tenby

As Tenby prepares for the main event tomorrow, the town buzzes with anticipation. Local businesses, having welcomed an influx of visitors, revel in the global attention this event brings. The Ironman is not just a sporting event; it’s a celebration of human potential, a testament to what one can achieve with determination, discipline, and spirit.

Tomorrow, as the sun rises over Tenby’s shores and the athletes mark the beginning of their Ironman journey, they will carry with them the spirit of every person who has faced this challenge before and the hopes of everyone cheering them on.

For those attending, be prepared for a day filled with raw emotion, heart-pounding moments, and above all, the awe-inspiring spectacle of human strength and resilience.

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BBC Cymru Wales announces new line-up of sports content

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BBC Cymru Wales has announced an exciting new fixture list of content for the forthcoming sporting season. With sports fans looking for immediate coverage of their team, keeping up to date with the latest news and analysis, the broadcaster will be introducing new content on iPlayer, Sounds and online.

Under the Scrum V and Feast of Football brands BBC Cymru Wales will be launching two new digital first, multi-platform programmes – designed for audiences to watch or listen to on their phones, tablets and laptops as well as on television or BBC iPlayer.

The multi-platform Scrum V show will feature big names talking rugby in a relaxed and no holds barred environment, presented by Lauren Jenkins.

And of course there’ll be plenty of live action as Scrum V’s first URC game of the season kicks off on Friday, 20 September when Cardiff take on Zebre. Sarra Elgan will bring all the action from the Welsh clubs every Friday evening on BBC Two Wales, following all four Welsh regions in their quest for this year’s title.  

With audiences wanting their highlights quickly, Scrum V’s evening highlights show will no longer be on Sunday nights.  Instead, highlights will be available shortly after the final whistles of all Welsh regional matches online and on Scrum V’s social channels.  These highlights will also be combined and shown as one comprehensive package on BBC Wales TV and iPlayer. And the Scrum V Podcast continues weekly on BBC Sounds with Gareth Rhys Owen.

Other new shows under the Scrum V banner this season include Scrum V Top 5s which sees Mammoth star and diehard rugby fan Mike Bubbins inviting guests to choose iconic moments and characters from the game. Among those featured in this eight-part series is Sam Warburton who reveals some very unlikely choices for his Top 5 Teammates.

Football fans also have a new multi-platform show. With a bumper autumn of international football approaching, an eight part series of Feast of Football will have unparalleled access into the national squad – capturing all the excitement and the big talking points of the Welsh game.

Presented by former Wales captain Ashley Williams, this will be a must watch for football fans and will tap into the spirit and passion of the Red Wall.  Filmed at the Football Association of Wales’s headquarters on the eve of the men’s and women’s internationals, the show will feature interviews and exclusive access to players from both camps, as well as short films from around Wales.

Ashley Williams said: “I’m really excited to be presenting Feast of Football. We’ve got great access to the squads and we’ll be giving fans a brilliant insight into Welsh football and talking about the things that matter to them. We want them to feel they’re right at the heart of the camp and part of the story.”

BBC Cymru Wales is also increasing its online sports coverage with more team topic pages and live text pages while a new BBC Radio Wales and BBC Sounds series this autumn – Iconic: The Rise of the Women in Red – presented by Wales’s most capped footballer Jess Fishlock will chart the growth of women’s football.

Carolyn Hitt, Head of Sport at BBC Cymru Wales said: “Scrum V is our iconic rugby brand and will remain at the heart of our sports coverage, with content throughout the week offering analysis and predictions, timely highlights as well as marking the remarkable moments. BBC Wales is proud to have brought Scrum V to audiences for almost 30 years and our aim is to capture the interest and imagination of a new generation of rugby fans as well as rewarding our longstanding audiences with new content.”

“As the game evolves and the way we consume sport changes, we’re looking to provide more instant coverage, courtesy of our new digital formats. Rugby and football fans can rest assured that the new offer will bring the latest news, views and analysis to their laptop, smart phone and TV.

“I’m delighted that from next season we can bring more football to fans across Wales.  Feast of Football will expand with a podcast and iPlayer and TV versions. Feast of Football will talk Welsh football in all its glory and in the slightly less glorious times. 

“It’s also true that the BBC, like other broadcasters is having to cut its cloth in line with its budgets. Increased costs across the board, as well as our ambition to cover a broader range of sport means we’re having to focus where we spend our money and ensure we’re giving our audience the sport coverage they want in the places they want to enjoy it.”

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European stars line up for European Rally Championship

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THE FIA European Rally Championship will return to Wales for the first time in 28 years as the JDS Machinery Rali Ceredigion returns this year with an exciting new route covering the stunning landscapes of Ceredigion, Carmarthenshire, and Powys.

Taking place from 30 August to 1 September, 2024, the event will attract top competitors from across the world, with an extended and demanding route that will offer both participants and spectators an unforgettable experience. 

Spectators are invited to join the action and community festivities. Key viewing areas and fan zones will be set up along the route. For details on the best spots to watch and ticketing information, visit Rali Ceredigion’s official website

This year, Rali Ceredigion not only aims to deliver exhilarating motorsport entertainment but also to promote local tourism and sustainability. The rally route showcases the natural beauty and cultural heritage of Mid and West Wales, encouraging visitors to explore and appreciate the region. Efforts are also being made to ensure the event is environmentally friendly, with initiatives such as low-carbon race fuel and one of the world’s largest carbon offsetting programmes for rally events ensuring the event offsets and captures more carbon that it produces through local and national environmental projects.

Rali Ceredigion was the first UK event to have a specific class for electric vehicles and is the only rally in the UK to have achieved the stringent FIA environmental accreditation.

As part of the ‘Rali Engage’ initiative, Rali Ceredigion is visiting schools in the area and has launched a competition for schools to win up to £1,000 to spend on environmental projects. There is also a competition for children to design one of the rally cars that will take place in this year’s event.

Charlie Jukes, Rali Ceredigion Event Director said“We are thrilled to bring Rali Ceredigion to these new and exciting stages and, through the extended coverage of the event, create global awareness of the region and drive tourism opportunities. This event is a celebration of not just motorsport but also the vibrant communities and breathtaking landscapes of Wales. We encourage everyone to join us and experience the thrill and beauty of this event.” 

In a joint statement, Councillor Darren Price, Leader of Carmarthenshire County Council, Councillor Bryan Davies, Leader of Ceredigion County Council, and Councillor James Gibson-Watt, Leader of Powys County Council said: “Rali Ceredigion is a prime example of an event that brings economic as well as wider benefits to our area. We are excited to welcome a large international audience to mid and West Wales for an event that highlights our natural assets. The event is also on an exciting journey to boost its sustainability, providing a world-leading example of how such an event can drive environmental performance whilst delivering a great experience for local people and visitors alike.”

The event is being supported by Ceredigion County Council and partially funded by the UK Shared Prosperity Fund from the UK Government. Rally organisers will be on hand to talk about the event in more detail at this year’s Royal Welsh Show. Come and say hi and pick up a rally guide from the Ceredigion County Council stand on Thursday afternoon, 25 July (Stand 477-E. Grid ref: F4, situated behind the main ring).

Plan Your Visit 

For comprehensive details on the event schedule, road closures, and spectator zones, visit www.raliceredigion.co.uk. Follow us on social media for live updates and join the conversation using #RaliCeredigion2024. 

Staying for longer in the area? There are many beautiful places to discover. Visit Discover Powys for inspiration for your stay: https://www.midwalesmyway.com/

Join us for an unforgettable weekend of rally excitement and discover the best of Wales with Rali Ceredigion 2024! 

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Gareth Southgate resigns as England manager following Euro final

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In a significant turn of events, England manager Gareth Southgate has stepped down just two days after England’s 2-1 defeat to Spain in the 2024 European Championship final in Berlin. This marks England’s second consecutive Euros final loss, having been beaten on penalties by Italy at Wembley three years prior.

Southgate, 53, who led the national team in 102 matches over his eight-year tenure, was due to see his contract expire later this year. In a heartfelt statement, he expressed his deep pride in having served his country: “As a proud Englishman, it has been the honour of my life to play for England and to manage England. It has meant everything to me, and I have given it my all. But it’s time for change, and for a new chapter.”

Football Association chief executive Mark Bullingham announced that the process to find Southgate’s successor is underway, aiming for a swift appointment. He assured that an interim solution is in place if required and that there would be no further comments until a new manager is named.

England’s next fixture is against the Republic of Ireland in the Nations League on 7 September. FA sources have indicated that the selection process is unlikely to be restricted to English managers alone. Potential candidates include Under-21 boss Lee Carsley for an interim role, Newcastle’s Eddie Howe, former Brighton and Chelsea manager Graham Potter, ex-Chelsea and Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino, as well as speculations around ex-Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp and Thomas Tuchel, who left Bayern Munich last season.

Southgate’s tenure was notable, as he became the only England manager besides 1966 World Cup winner Sir Alf Ramsey to lead the team to a major tournament final. He guided England through four major tournaments, including the World Cup semi-finals in 2018 and the quarter-finals in 2022. Under his leadership, England won nine knockout matches, a significant improvement from the six won in the 50 years prior.

Despite his successes, Southgate faced mounting pressure this summer, with many fans critical of his utilisation of England’s talented attacking players. The tension peaked when supporters expressed their discontent following a goalless draw against Slovenia in the Euro 2024 group stage. However, he regained some support during England’s run to the final.

Reflecting on his time, Southgate praised the current squad: “The squad we took to Germany is full of exciting young talent and they can win the trophy we all dream of. We have the best fans in the world, and their support has meant the world to me. I’m an England fan and I always will be.”

Prince William, the FA president, commended Southgate for his leadership, saying: “Thank you for showing humility, compassion, and true leadership under the most intense pressure and scrutiny. And thank you for being an all-round class act. You should be incredibly proud of what you’ve achieved.”

Tributes also poured in from players, with Declan Rice and Jordan Pickford expressing their gratitude for Southgate’s guidance and support.

Southgate, who replaced Sam Allardyce in 2016, concluded with a message of thanks to his players and staff, singling out assistant Steve Holland as “one of the most talented coaches of his generation.” Reflecting on his journey, he stated, “I joined the FA in 2011, determined to improve English football. I hope we get behind the players and the team at St George’s Park and the FA who strive every day to improve English football, and understand the power football has to drive positive change.”

Bullingham lauded Southgate for making “the impossible job possible” and laying strong foundations for future success. He added, “Over the last eight years they have transformed the England men’s team, delivering unforgettable memories for everyone who loves the Three Lions. We look back at Gareth’s tenure with huge pride – his contribution to the English game, including a significant role in player development, and in culture transformation has been unique.”

As the search for a new manager begins, Southgate’s departure marks the end of a remarkable chapter in English football, one that brought hope, pride, and a renewed belief in the Three Lions.

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