STEEPLECHASE ace Ieuan Thomas says the disappointment of missing out on Glasgow 2014 fuelled his quest to make the Wales team for this year’s Commonwealth Games.

The 28-year-old, who represented Great Britain at last summer’s World Championships, can’t wait for a “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunity on Australia’s Gold Coast in April.

A track and field party of 21 has been chosen to travel Down Under by Welsh Athletics, with Jon Hopkins joining Pontypool’s Thomas in the 3000m steeplechase.

To date, Thomas is one of more than 20 Gwent sportsmen and women from all sports to gain selection for the Games – rugby sevens, hockey, netball and gymnastics squads are to be confirmed.

Reacting to making the team, Thomas said: “They told us before Christmas so we didn’t have to worry about it.

“It was impossible to keep from close friends, family and everyone I train with, but I don’t think anyone let it slip.

“It was a big relief when I was told, and it meant I could focus on the task at hand over the Christmas

period without stressing about going through the

appeals process.

“I had three ‘A’ standards so I knew I was in with a good shot and near the top of the list, especially after representing Britain at the World Championships last summer.

“It would have been massively disappointing if I hadn’t been in the team.”

He added: “It doesn’t seem that long ago I was told I hadn’t been nominated for Glasgow and had to go through the appeals process.

“It was hugely disappointing to miss out. Looking back, I think I had a good argument for going.

“But that disappointment spurred me on over the next few years and enabled me to make the step up.

“I’d done everything I could to cement my place in the team and it’s nice to get the recognition with my

selection, and I’m really looking forward to it now.

“As a Welsh athlete, it’s the biggest stage you can get competing for Wales.

“Getting to the Commonwealth Games is

every young Welsh athlete’s dream because you always compete for Team GB at other events.”

Thomas is in good shape at the moment having won the annual Nos Galan race on New Year’s Eve and set a personal best over 10k on the roads in Telford.

And while he knows getting among the medals in Australia will be tough, the Cardiff AAC star has every intention of mixing it with the best in the Commonwealth.

“As far as I know, the men’s steeplechase is a straight final on Friday, April 13 – hopefully it will be unlucky for others and not me,” he said. “It’s going to be a tough race.

“There will be three quality Kenyans in there, as well as some other good

Africans, a couple of Aussies and a few Canadians.

“I really need to be looking at the top six as a minimum.

“That’s what Team Wales will be expecting of me and what I’ll be expecting of


“The most important thing is I’m fresh, ready and prepared.”

He continued: “For me, this is a once-in-a-lifetime thing so I’ve got to make the most of my chance.

“By the time of the next Commonwealth Games my career is probably going to be on the down slope.”

Gwent’s Team Wales members: Aidan Heslop (diving), Alex Rosser (swimming), Rosie Eccles, Kyran Jones, Lauren Price (all boxing), James Ball,

Ellie Coster, Sam Harrison,

Rachel James, Zachery May, Jon Mould, Lewis Oliva (all cycling), Stephen Harris, Jonathan Tomlinson, Marc Wyatt (all lawn bowls), Mike Wixey, Sarah Wixey (both shooting), Peter Creed (squash), Charlotte Carey, Chloe Thomas (both table tennis).

The 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games run from April 4-15.