MICHAEL PEARLMAN SAYS: Becky James is our new golden girl

Double world champion cyclist Becky James

Double world champion cyclist Becky James

First published in Sport

AS we learned during the Olympics, every region in the country has their own sporting heroes.

The People’s Republic of Yorkshire never let us forget exactly just how well ‘they’ did at London 2012.

Gwent has Premier League footballers in James Collins and Chris Gunter and some top calibre rugby players like Ryan Jones.

But generally it’s been from the so-called less mainstream sports that the biggest heroes have emerged in recent times, those guaranteed to take up column inches in the South Wales Argus.

Joe Calzaghe, he wasn’t bad and since his retirement we’ve seen other pugilists take up his mantle, Nathan Cleverly at the elite level with honourable mentions for Gavin Rees, Gary Buckland and Olympic silver medallist Fred Evans.

Evans was just one of the heroes of Team GB this summer and another, Tredegar’s Mark Colbourne, also has a claim to be Gwent sport’s premier star.

Or at least he did. Because I think when we take everything into account, there can be little doubt that Abergavenny’s Becky James has now won that title, as she seems to win everything else!

After the most extraordinary World Championships in Minsk – four medals, two bronze, two gold, never, ever achieved before by a British rider and at the age of just 21 – James has the world at her furiously peddling feet.

In our job there can’t be many greater thrills than seeing someone graduate from the junior sport section to the national consciousness and James has done it in style, from the Abergavenny Road Club to Team GB. Roll on Rio 2016.

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