Organised by Urdd Gobaith Cymru, the event has received funding of £60,000 over three years from the Welsh Government and a further £25,000 for this year’s games to provide transport, accommodation and kit for the athletes. Additional support has been provided through sponsorship from Coca-Cola Enterprises, Deloitte, Doodson Insurance, GE Aviation Wales, Cardiff Council and Glamorgan University.
Around 1,300 athletes from all over Wales will be competing in 12 different sports. All participating athletes have qualified via a series of sporting qualification events or invited to compete by their sport’s governing body as a result of their talent and potential.
Competitions will be held at world class sporting venues across Cardiff including; the Cardiff International Sports Stadium, Cardiff Yacht Club, Cardiff International White Water Centre, Cardiff International Pool and Sports Wales National Centre. All Gemau Cymru sports events will be open to the public, offering a unique opportunity to see future Welsh sporting stars in action. Meanwhile an ‘Athletes Village’ has been established at the University of Glamorgan in Trefforest to give the competitors a real life experience of what it could be like to compete in an Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Three sports will make an appearance at Gemau Cymru for the first time this year, making a total of 12. Sailing, Indoor Rowing and Squash, join Gymnastics, Swimming, Canoeing, Triathlon, Girls’ Football, 7-A-Side Rugby, Netball, Boccia and Athletics the founding sports of Gemau Cymru 2011.
Gemau Cymru ‘Inspired by London 2012’ is Wales’ flagship sports legacy project and has been awarded the London 2012 Inspire Mark (an Olympic and Paralympic first) which recognises those projects that will secure a lasting legacy to the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games for Wales..
First Minister of Wales, Carwyn Jones said:
"It is great to see Gemau Cymru going from strength to strength and will include even more sports this year, with Sailing, Rowing and Squash added to the likes of Boccia, Rugby, Gymnastics, Triathlon, Swimming and Athletics.
"If we are to capitalise upon the 2012 Games it is programmes like this which will ensure that a lasting sporting and volunteering legacy will be achieved.
"Gemau Cymru provides a unique Olympic style experience for our future sporting stars which can only stand them in good stead as they aspire to become the Welsh Olympians and international sportsmen and women of the future."
Sports Minister Huw Lewis said:
"The 2012 Olympic Games will provide Wales with a great opportunity to capitalise on the economic, sporting and cultural legacy. I am delighted that one of these opportunities, Gemau Cymru is providing young athletes in Wales with the chance to showcase their talents on a national stage and to test themselves against their peers in a multi-sport environment. It is a credit to the Urdd, the sponsors and the National Governing Bodies of the sports involved that the event has grown this year. I am sure all the athletes will enjoy the weekend and I have no doubt some sporting stars of the future will emerge."
Efa Gruffudd Jones, Urdd Chief Executive added:
"We are extremely proud of what we are offering young people in Wales through Gemau Cymru – the first time anything on this scale has been offered in Wales. We’ve always given a national stage for our ‘eisteddfodwyr’ to shine, but now we can do the same for our up-and-coming sport stars.
"A few of the competitors from last year have been spotted by talent scouts during the competition and are now representing their country in the relevant sport, which is amazing. I am confident that we will get the same calibre of competitors again this year."