EBBW Vale boxer Ashley Brace is already a history maker but she insists she isn’t going to Glasgow 2014 to make up the numbers, writes Andrew Penman.
The 22-year-old will be among the first trio of women boxers to represent Wales at the Commonwealth Games.
But, despite her excitement, that’s not enough to satisfy Brace – she wants to bring a medal home from Scotland.
“I’m really excited,” said the Torfaen Warriors fighter. “I can’t wait now. I’m wishing the days away until we get there, to be honest.
“Most of the hard work has been done; there’s a little bit more training to do but we’re nearly there now.
“And I’m going for a medal,” she added. “I wouldn’t be going otherwise.
“I want to meet the best and I’m looking forward to it.”
Brace got into boxing through her love for kickboxing, which she started as an eight-year-old after being bullied at school, and only gave it a go to improve her hand speed.
But she soon fell in love with the sport and at just 17 returned from Bulgaria with a bronze medal from the European Boxing Championships.
She currently combines her boxing career with studying for a degree in Sport and PE at Cardiff Metropolitan University and also teaches martial arts to children and adults.
Brace is looking forward to a potential clash with London 2012 Olympic champion Nicola Adams of England in the 51kg category in Glasgow.
“The Canadians will be good,” she said. “I know that from fighting out there recently. And Nicola Adams is obviously Olympic champion so I want to take her on.”
Wales coach Colin Jones, however, says his young squad will need to learn quickly on the big stage.
“Let’s make no bones about it – behind Fred Evans and Andrew Selby we’ve got a reasonably inexperienced team with lots of youngsters,” he said.
“A lot of good prospects are coming through and we’re looking towards the future and the next Commonwealth Games as well.
“But we mustn’t kid ourselves; we must be realistic and the draw is a major thing. If Nicola Adams is in the other half of the draw from Ashley I’ll be very happy!”