Evans keeps calm and carries on
Gary Baker on 24/06/2012
Holyhead's Gareth Evans (pictured right at the British Championships in May) and Swansea's Natasha Perdue have had their dreams granted and will compete in the London Olympic Games next month.
Both were waiting on tenterhooks, having only managed to lift the 'B' standard for selection to the British team.
However, both have now been told they are in the team, along with three other athletes, and will lift at the Games.
Evans, the 26-year-old former painter, has worked tirelessly for his shot at the Olympics, giving up a huge amount of work and family life to move to Leeds and train with only the Games in his focus.
He lifted the 'B' standard in the 62 kilo class during British Championships in May but not the 'A' standard that would give him his place automatically.
He has done the 'A' standard in training but that, frustratingly, could not be converted into last month's British Championships, which was his last chance to get through the magic barrier.
So when the phone call arrived to say he was in, Evans could not believe it. He said: "I'm ecstatic. It is testament to the sacrifice I have made and the hard work I have put in over the years. I would just like to thank everyone who has supported me so far.Ē
However, while getting a place in the team for this summer was one thing, being at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games for Wales in 2014 is another massive ambition.
Lifting for Wales is his goal after the Olympics are over as he aims to maintain the Principality's grand tradition of producing medal-contending lifters, as Michaela Breeze, for one, has proved to be in the past.
Evans said: "The Commonwealth Games have always been a big draw for me as a weightlifter. In the Olympics, the records set are world records and the competition is massive from right across the world.
"To break a world record at the Olympics for a British athlete would be quite some achievement.
"But I am definitely looking forward to 2014 especially with it being in Glasgow. I have only been full-time (as a weightlifter) for the last 12 months so I am happy with this year's progress and I'm happy with myself."
He moved to Yorkshire to train as a professional, leaving his family back in Anglesey, and hopes that his funding continues post-London so that he can keep going.
"I'm going to carry on after the Olympics and, by the time that Glasgow comes around, I should be ready to take a medal," he added.
"I know I would never have realised this potential I have within me if I had not been a full-time athlete. The opportunity to do this has got me into the position where I have been challenging for a place at the Olympics and I would never have thought that was possible a while ago.
"Now I will be pushing on towards gold."
Perdue's father, Terry, was a prolific weightlifter in the sport's heaviest category and retired after the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne.
Terry lifted for Britain at both the Mexico 1968 Olympics and the 1972 Munich Games, finishing tenth in both years.
Natasha lifted in those Australian Commonwealth Games but this is an even bigger achievement for her and continues the family's proud tradition.
She, too, has moved to Yorkshire to train alongside Evans and combines that with a day job of being a bin woman on Leeds City Council's refuse collection department.
But Perdue said: "I canít describe in words how happy I feel and I keep pinching myself to make sure Iím not dreaming. I waited two weeks for the call, and when it came I didnít want to answer it in case it was bad news. I asked them to repeat it about three times just to make sure!Ē
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