Blog: Team Wales Chef de Mission Nicki Phillips reflects on a successful Commonwealth Games

Gold Coast 2018 saw the most successful Welsh team at a Commonwealth Games. We equalled the 36 medals in Glasgow 2014 but with 10 golds, we improved on the four in Scotland. The medals were spread across 11 of the 15 sports entered, with Wales finishing seventh in the medal table.

Achieving this with a population of just three million put Wales second on the medals per capita table – unfortunately, Cyprus just beat us after a very successful games for them in one or two sports.

However, our two main goals as a team were:

  • To be the best prepared Welsh team ever
  • To inspire through our performance on and off the field of play

Our values were – Believe, Inspire, Respect

Reflecting on anti-doping related areas, we recognised the risk around supplement use in Australia at an early stage and worked with Sport Wales nutrition team to create some additional advice materials. These re-enforced the consistent message around Australian import regulations and the high percentage of contaminated supplement products found in Australia.

All our Athlete Support Personnel completed the online learning module, all our coaches completed the Clean Coach online module and all athletes attended the Clean Sport and Clean Games sessions.

We also attended Clean Games sessions, which were very late in the process as the timing relied on GOLDOC sending Games-specific information through. The new addition to Commonwealth Games anti-doping rules was the “No Needle Policy”. Our Chief Medical Officer had picked up on this and followed up on an individual basis but although it was noted in the Clean Games sessions, the actual process of what athletes needed to do probably still needs development as we move forward to other Games.

One the most useful sessions for us as officials was the workshop led by Alex Newman on problem-solving scenarios, alongside Chef de Missions and HQ staff of all the Home Countries. This is a great resource that could potentially be extended as part of a team manager training package in the future.

Although I have been to many Commonwealth Games, this was the first in charge and the first time going in with more in-depth knowledge and contacts with UKAD. Although this has only been since last summer, being part of UKAD gave me much more insight into processes and was invaluable to my role as Chef de Mission. It has also confirmed my enthusiasm to get involved with the education team as the organisation starts to action the new strategic plan.

Professor Nicola Phillips