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Cymru footballers and Welsh Government team up to tackle online sexual harassment

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The Football Association of Wales and the Welsh Government have launched a new video today, featuring several Cymru players, that aims to help tackle the issue of online sexual harassment.

The thought-provoking video, ‘Calling Out: Online Sexual Harassment’, reveals conversations between Cymru international footballers Joe Allen, Lily Woodham, Esther Morgan and Joe Morrell, encouraging young people to speak up about sexual harassment online and the importance of both boys and men calling out the behaviour.

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The film promotes a culture of equality and respect, with further advice for families, children and educators available on Hwb, the digital teaching and learning platform for schools in Wales.

The video is one of a series of three from the FAW which will be published across Hwb, with conversations covering the topics of online misogyny, the importance of challenging attitudes and safely reporting inappropriate behaviour.

The FAW have previously worked with the Welsh Government on raising awareness and addressing other social issues, including launching unique educational resources and a powerful film with the Senior Cymru Women’s team tackling online misogyny.  

The Minister for Education and Welsh Language, Jeremy Miles, recently visited Porth Community School, where he joined pupils for a lesson on tackling the problem of online sexual harassment and where the new video was first viewed by pupils and school staff.

Jeremy Miles said:

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“Online sexual harassment has become an increasingly common and challenging issue and one that can have a huge impact on people subjected to it.

“The new video will equip our education practitioners with the tools to support important conversations with young people about the seriousness of the issue – what it looks like, how to report inappropriate behaviour and how to get further advice, via our Hwb platform for schools.  

“Our Welsh international footballers, with their unprecedented success on the field, are such strong role models for children and young people, so it’s fantastic to have them leading by example in speaking up about this issue.” 

FAW Safeguarding & Player Welfare Manager, Sian Jones, said: “It is brilliant to see our Cymru male and female players coming together and using their platform to discuss this important issue.

“The FAW is committed to ensuring that young people are safe on and off the pitch and working with our players in their capacity as role models and key partners, such as Welsh Government, is critical in helping us achieve this. We want children and young people to feel comfortable to talk about matters such as online sexual harassment and know how to seek further support if needed.”

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Cymru and Swansea City player, Joe Allen, said: “It has been shocking to hear how many young girls and women are experiencing online sexual harassment. It has really shown that there is a need for more education on both the topic and scale of things.

“There is so much work to be done to put an end to this behaviour, but I hope that the conversations between myself and my Cymru teammates will encourage people to call out this behaviour and for those who may be suffering it, as tough as it may be, reporting it is vital.”

The Welsh Government has worked with Childnet International to publish age-appropriate learning materials to address online sexual harassment, ‘Just a joke?’, for 9-12 year olds, and ‘Step up, speak up’, for the 13-17 year age group. A training package is being developed to help teachers increase their confidence in addressing the issue.

Children and young people can also get advice about online sexual harassment, including what it looks like, how to report this behaviour and how to get help in the ‘Online issues and worries’ area of Hwb. The advice published in March was co-designed with children and young people and has been shaped by Welsh Government research into their online experiences and worries and some of the barriers to getting help.

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Cricket

Council leader welcomes news Glamorgan to bring first class cricket back to Neath

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The Leader of Neath Port Talbot Council, Cllr Steve Hunt, has congratulated Neath Cricket Club on its success in attracting senior Glamorgan matches to its Gnoll Ground for the first time in more than 20 years.

On a visit the club’s ground, Cllr Hunt heard from Neath Cricket Club officials how first class facilities, pitch management and other factors led to Glamorgan staging two one day matches in Neath in August.

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Glamorgan will play Lancashire at the Gnoll on August 17th and two days later Hampshire will be the visitors to the Neath town centre ground.

Both matches, expected to draw big crowds, will be 50-over games and both are part of the Royal London Cup competition.

Cllr Hunt said: “It means a lot to have first class cricket played once again in the centre of Neath at the Gnoll – it really puts Neath on the map.

“I want to congratulate the team at Neath Cricket Club for achieving this success. It will bring big crowds into the centre of Neath where the building of the new Neath Leisure Centre has just been constructed.”

Glamorgan usually play their matches at Sophia Gardens in Cardiff, however a limited number of matches are played at other Welsh grounds.

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Earlier this year the club announced that they would no longer play at Swansea’s St Helens ground due to the condition of the pitch and the poor operational infrastructure.

Announcing their fixtures at the beginning of the season, Glamorgan’s head of operations, Dan Cherry, said: “Regrettably, we are unable to play at St Helen’s this year, with the facilities no longer able to support the hosting of domestic cricket at the venue.”

(Lead image: Neath Port Talbot Council)

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Alastair Brownlee wins inaugural Swansea IRONMAN as thousands of spectators line streets to watch

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Olympian, Alastair Brownlee has won the inaugural IRONMAN 70.3 Swansea, with thousands of spectators lining the Swansea to Gower course to watch the event.

Pro-athlete Kat Matthews won the women’s race.

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Alistair Brownlee said: “It’s been a tough year with some ups and downs, I think I decided to race Swansea about three weeks ago. It’s actually a place I know pretty well as I’ve done some training here throughout the years, so it’s nice to be back. It’s great to take on my first 70.3 in the UK.”

On the podium, Brownlee said: “I had a couple of occasions where I was going up a hill, looking at the view over the coast to my left or right, which was really beautiful. There were some great crowds in random spots throughout the Gower, with people popping up on farm tracks and all sorts. It was lovely. I think the crowd and the weather are what made it today.”

At the pre-event press conference, Kat Matthews said: “I’m most looking forward to the change in dynamic of the course. You’ve got the first half which is really punchy rolling hills, trying not to get distracted by the sea and beach. Then you’ve got the slight technical aspect, and then you’ve got the TT element. I think it just adds the whole package to the race.

“We’ve been in and out of the cafes, actually experiencing the local area. It’s been amazing – all the locals have already been really nice. I think we’ve seen a mix of the normal Swansea, having arrived so early, and then the triathlon community wafting through. It’s been a really good mix.”

Kat Matthews celebrates winning the women’s race at IRONMAN 70.3 Swansea (Image: Nigel Roddis/Getty Images for IRONMAN)

Swansea’s own Shane Williams also toed the start line at the inaugural IRONMAN 70.3 Swansea, finishing the race 16th in his age group with a time of 05:17:46. His first IRONMAN 70.3 event ahead of his upcoming full-distance triathlon at IRONMAN Wales in Tenby on 11 September, Williams credited the spectator support as his key driver to participate in IRONMAN events.

Ahead of the race, Shane told organisers: “I’m most looking forward to the support. It’s the reason I did my first IRONMAN down in Pembrokeshire. The support at IRONMAN Wales is unbelievable, and I’m expecting the same in Swansea. If any of the other IRONMAN events are anything to go by, we’ll have a stack of people showing up to cheer us on.”

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A proud 63% of the athlete field raced for Wales, with over 700 athletes from the Swansea area taking to the middle-distance course. Topping the Tri Club podium were local clubs Celtic Tri, Swansea Vale Tri, and the Port Talbot Harriers, who collectively brought 160 of their affiliated athletes to compete in the event.

IRONMAN 70.3 Swansea sold out over 2,000 places in less than four days and brought an estimated economic boost upward of £2.5m to the region. Returning to Swansea until at least 2024, the event will look to continue growing its popularity and visibility over the coming years.

Swansea Council say that the event brought an estimated £2.5m to the economy, with many accommodation providers doing excellent business along with many other businesses in the hospitality sector.

Ahead of the event, Declan Byrne, VP of Operations, EMEA at The IRONMAN Group said: “It takes a while to get to this point in an event’s evolution. It was November 2019 when we came down here first, to get this event up and running on a windswept day. We met our good partners in Swansea Council and Welsh Government who wanted to support this event.”

“We wanted to put a 70.3 in Wales. That was the vision. We know how strong the Welsh triathlon community is, especially in South Wales, and we felt that Swansea was the perfect location when we met with the teams here. It was also the fact that it was a community and a host venue that really wanted us to be here.

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“We have a fantastic field of professional athletes as well, which delivers a brilliant image for this event that puts Swansea and the triathlon community on the global map.”

Athletes compete during the swim section of IRONMAN 70.3 Swansea (Image: Nigel Roddis/Getty Images for IRONMAN)
Athletes entering the water (Image: Huw Fairclough for IRONMAN)
The cycle portion of the route headed along Mumbles Road and around the Gower (Image: Huw Fairclough for IRONMAN
Maurice Clavel of Germany competes in the bike section of IRONMAN 70.3 Swansea (Image: Nigel Roddis/Getty Images for IRONMAN)
Kat Matthews of Britain celebrates winning the women’s race at IRONMAN 70.3 Swansea (Image: Nigel Roddis/Getty Images for IRONMAN)
Antonio Lopez of Spain finishes second at IRONMAN 70.3 Swansea (Image: Nigel Roddis/Getty Images for IRONMAN)

Council cabinet member Robert Francis-Davies said: “It was an amazing week, topped off brilliantly by the weekend’s two world-class events.

“I thank all those who took part, arranged and supported the events – and thank all residents and businesses across Swansea and Gower for their patience and understanding as they made changes to their day-to-day lives.

“We do appreciate that road closures cause some disruption to normal daily routines – but they’re important to make such events as safe as possible for all involved and local residents.

“Bringing top class sport and other events to any location has its challenges but we’re determined to give the people of this area their biggest ever programme of major events.

“They give local people great things to see and do – and they boost the local economy in a substantial way.

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“This truly was a big weekend of international sport and it shone a global spotlight on Swansea as a destination.”

(Lead image: Nigel Roddis/Getty Images for IRONMAN)

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It’s in the game: First ever Welsh Esports team head to Commonwealth Esports Championships

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The first ever Welsh e-sports team are heading to the 2022 Commonwealth Games’ Esports Championships in Birmingham to compete in the prestigious inaugural main event, thanks to support from the Welsh Government’s Creative Wales agency.

Esports is a form of competition using video games played competitively for spectators, typically by professionals.

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Esports Wales Team (Image: Esports Wales)

Esports is a growing industry. It provides people of all-abilities the opportunity to participate a wide range of competitions, providing them with the opportunity to develop new and existing skills.

Esports Wales, the not-for-profit Welsh body for competitive and grassroots gaming, is heading towards an action-packed summer at the Commonwealth Esports Championships, amidst a growing awareness of the scale and potential of this new industry.

The contest at the Commonwealth Games, being held from the 6th-7th August, will feature topflight esports athletes from across the nations of the Commonwealth, with Esports Wales fielding teams in six categories:

  • Rocket League Open
  • Rocket League Womens
  • Dota 2 Open
  • Dota 2 Womens
  • Efootball
  • Efootball Womens.
Esports is a growing industry attracting huge crowds at tournaments worldwide

Creative Wales recently confirmed £25,000 in funding to Esports Wales to help with their next stage of growth. The funding will support the establishment of a Welsh league, which will then lead to representation at tournaments in the UK and beyond.

The funding will help secure coaching and training for staff and teams, enable the hosting of new in-person and awareness-raising events, and support membership growth and marketing.

Deputy Minister for Arts and Sport, Dawn Bowden said: “Esports is an exciting and inclusive new development for sport and for Wales. I’m delighted we have been able to support the establishment of Wales’ first ever Esports team, which will further support the growth of the games industry in Wales.

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“I very much look forward to cheering on the Welsh team in Birmingham. Pob lwc i chi gyd!”

Chief Operating Officer of Esports Wales Jack “Anders” Lawrence said: “The practice the teams put in showed through the qualification process with the mixed Rocket League and mixed Dota 2 teams advancing through the qualifiers without dropping a series.

“I’m thoroughly looking forward to watching all of our six brilliant teams compete at the Commonwealth Esports Championships. It will be a fantastic step for Welsh Esports and its community to be part of an event of this magnitude.”

(Lead image: Esports Wales)

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