NORTH East Wales competitors will form a major part of the more than 100 athletes who will represent Team Wales at the Commonwealth Games.

The Games in Birmingham begin with the opening at Alexander Stadium today (July 28).

In total, Team Wales will have 199 athletes competing in Birmingham this summer across 15 sports.

There will be a record number of Para athletes and more women than men in the final team selection.

Tesni Evans, from St Asaph, will represent Team Wales in squash.

A five-time Welsh national squash champion, Tesni, 29, will compete in both the singles and doubles competitions.

She is coached by Andrew Evans and Tesni reached a career-high world ranking of number nine in November 2018.

She is currently ranked 17th.

Wrexham flyweight Jake Dodd will enter the ring during the Games.

The 24-year-old said he’s feeling ready for the Games to begin: “It’s been good – it’s been a tough camp but preparation has been really good. It’s a waiting game now – all the hard work’s done.”

Wrexham gymnast Jacob Edwards is certainly keeping it in the family!

Edwards is one of 13 athletes announced by Gymnastics Wales who will represent the country at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

His older brother Matthew Hennessey represented Wales at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi 12 years ago.

Edwards, who is 19, is a member of Olympus Gymnastics Club, Wrexham.

There's also a five-strong women's artistic section, which includes Chirk's Mia Evans.

Mia, who is 16 and was born in Wrexham, is a boarding student at Wrekin College, Wellington.

She began in gymnastics aged three with the Border Counties Gymnastics Club and Mia is now with Park Wrekin Gymnastics Club.


Rhyl Journal: Amber SimpsonAmber Simpson


Meanwhile, a Deeside athlete will be testing herself against some of the best competitors in the world.

Amber Simpson is one of 22 athletes chosen to represent Team Wales at the Games.

The Deeside Athletics Club member, who is 23, will wear the red vest in the hammer.

From being bullied to landing a scholarship offer in Memphis in the United States to being selected to represent Wales at the Commonwealth Games, Simpson now wants to be a role model for young women.

“I feel like a lot of people quit before they even try," she said.

"That’s especially the case when people are picking on you or making fun of the way you look.

"It can be so hard to stay driven in those sorts of situations.

"I want to help empower other women to know they can rise above the physical and emotional abuse from bullying.”


Rhyl Journal: Amy SaltAmy Salt


Wrexham-born Amy Salt, who hails from Coedpoeth, is looking for another personal best in Birmingham to give herself a chance of reaching the weight-lifting podium.

She will compete in the women's 76kg weight class at the major multi-sports event, having achieved the qualification total at the British Championships earlier this year.

Wrexham's Grace Williams has been chosen as part of the table tennis set-up for the Games.

She joins Llanfynydd netball player Nia Jones in the Team Wales squad.

Nia, who started playing for Mold Netball Club when she was 11, left the sport to pursue a professional football career with Reading in the FAWSL and Wales. She eventually came back to netball and Celtic Dragons from 2017-2019, then moved to Severn Stars for 2020-2021.

She returned to the Dragons this year for her second spell as captain.

Chris Jenkins, CEO of Commonwealth Games Wales, said: “I would like to add my congratulations to all those selected to represent Wales in Birmingham ‘22 and thank all the coaches, support staff, and friends and family, who stand behind the athletes.

"An opportunity to represent your country goes deeper than putting on a Welsh top and competing in sport.

"For Wales, it’s about unity, coming together as a small nation and being proud of who we are.

"The success we’ve had in the Commonwealth Games speaks for itself, and the athletes who have made their mark are now sporting idols for many, from Colin Jackson, Geraint Thomas, Kirsty Wade to Lauren Price.

"The selection panel certainly had a tough job this year, and seeing the line-up, really transforms all the hard work over the last four years into reality. It’s great to see a mixture of familiar and successful faces with new Team Wales members, all eager to make their mark on the Commonwealth stage.”