Cardiff University students past and present competing at Commonwealth Games

Row 1 (L-R): Izzy Webb, Jonathan Hopkins, Lauren Evans, Rhys Pilley. Row 2 (L-R)
Row 1 (L-R): Izzy Webb, Jonathan Hopkins, Lauren Evans, Rhys Pilley. Row 2 (L-R): Josh Lewis, Leila Thomas, Owain Dolan-Gray, Natalie Powell.

Cardiff University students and alumni are among those competing in this year’s Commonwealth Games.

The Commonwealth Games start in Birmingham today (Thursday 28 July) and run until Monday 8 August. There are 13 Cardiff University alumni and student athletes representing Team Wales, as well as Team Jersey and Team Guernsey.

Head of Sport at Cardiff University Stuart Vanstone said: "I’m looking forward to watching our alumni and student athletes compete at the Commonwealth Games and wish them the very best of luck. It’s wonderful to see our students and graduates excel at the disciplines that so many of them developed their passion and skills in during their time here at Cardiff University."

Our Cardiff University athletes

Lauren Evans (BSc 2021) Athletics, Heptathlon and High Jump

After obtaining her degree in Criminology and Sociology, Lauren has been preparing to compete in the games with help from her Cardiff Athletic Club coach Fyn Corcoran. Lauren is an athlete who has competed in a multitude of events, from the 100m Hurdles to High Jump and Pentathlon.

In 2017, Lauren competed in the 100m hurdles in the Commonwealth Youth Games and has won silver at the England Athletics Combined Events Championships in the Pentathlon.

Jake Heyward (BSc 2021) Athletics, 1500m

As well as completing his degree in Accounting and Finance, Jake has been working towards these games with the help of his coach, Olympic medallist Mark Rowland.

After making his Olympic debut at Tokyo aged 22, Heyward was able to make the final of his event. He is also a two-time European Junior champion and is the Welsh record holder for the 1500m with an impressive time of 3:33.99.

Lloyd Lewis (BA 2019) Rugby Sevens

Having completed his degree in English Literature with Media and Journalism, Lloyd has represented Wales at Under 18 and Under 20 level. He was also recently part of the Wales team that qualified for the Rugby World Cup Sevens tournament being held in South Africa this September.

As well as being known for his prolific try-scoring, Lloyd is a talented rap artist and often performs through the medium of Welsh.

Jon Hopkins (Occupational Therapy 2019-) Athletics, 3000m Steeplechase

Originally from Bridgend, Jon is currently studying to become an occupational therapist as well as training for the games with coach Tomaz Plibersek.

He has previously represented his country at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, placing 6th in the Steeplechase.

Natalie Powell (BSc 2015) Judo

Natalie graduated in 2015 with a degree in Biomedical Science and has completed a master’s in Advanced Sports Coaching. Alongside her studies, she continued to train with the help of her coach Darren Warner.

In 2014, she became the first Welsh Judo athlete to become champion in the women’s 78kg event at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. Alongside this, she is a two-time Olympian and has 31 IF World Tour medals.

Dominic Coy (Civil & Environmental Engineering 2020-) Triathlon

Currently working towards a degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering with a year studying in Spain, Dominic is also training to compete in triathlon.

After competing in his first triathlon at only eight years old, Coy has gone on to place 3rd in the 2021 Junior Sprint Triathlon National Championships. He also placed 3rd in the 2021 World Triathlon Junior Championships Quartiera.

Josh Lewis (BSc 2017, PgDip 2020) Triathlon

A graduate in Architecture with a PgDip in Architecture Environmental Design Of Buildings, Josh continues to train at the National Triathlon Performance Centre Wales.

He will be representing Guernsey and came 3rd in the 2021 British Triathlon Grand Final. Recently, he finished 5th in the Challenge Wales Half-Ironman.

Rhys Pilley (BA 2021) Cycling

Representing Jersey, Rhys recently graduated with a degree in Philosophy. He originally enjoyed road cycling from a young age but has now retrained to focus on the track.

After competing in the National Men’s Qualifier Pursuit in Derby in 2019 and finishing 2nd, Rhys is hoping to be the first Jersey representative in the velodrome since Lynn Minchinton in 1994.

Owain Dolan-Gray (Sustainability Planning & Environmental Policy 2020-) Hockey

Whilst completing his studies, Owain plays hockey at club-level for Cardiff & Met Hockey Club. He is a player who will provide valuable experience for the Welsh hockey team, having amassed 124 caps for his country.

Daniel Kyriakides (BSc 2016) Hockey

Marine Biology graduate Daniel has had the opportunity to represent Wales at both the 2014 and 2018 Commonwealth games. His hockey career has taken him as far as Germany to play for Bundesliga side Crefelder HTC.

Rupert Shipperley (BSc 2014) Hockey

A Human Geography & Planning graduate, Rupert currently plays club hockey for Hampstead and Westminster in the Men’s England Hockey League Premier Division.

He has had the opportunity to represent Team GB at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Hockey is also clearly a sport that runs in the family, as his sister Zoe has also played for both England and Great Britain.

Izzy Webb (BSc 2020) Hockey

Physiotherapy graduate Izzy currently plays for Clifton Robinson’s Hockey Club in Bristol and has amassed 33 caps for Wales.

She was recently involved in the three match test series against South Africa and will now be turning her attention to Wales’ first match of the games against Canada on Friday 29 July at 14:00.

Leila Thomas (BSc 2020) Netball

Leila - a Biochemistry graduate - currently plays netball for the Celtic Dragons in the Vitality Super League. She achieved a bronze medal in the 2019 Vitality Super League and was a silver medallist in the 2019 Netball Europe tournament.

She previously represented Wales back in 2018 and will be looking to start the games strong when Wales play Jamaica in their opening match on Friday 29 July.

Participate in both elite and recreational sport alongside your study, with over 60 clubs and four dedicated sports centres on campus.