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Focus on Olympic path for Evans after clinching fourth

(content thanks to WRU)

Wales rugby star Non Evans suffered heartbreak after missing out on a bronze medal in wrestling at the Commonwealth Games by a single point at Indiria Ghandi Arena earlier today.

The Welsh full back had been handed a tough draw in the competition just weeks after she starred at the Women's Rugby World Cup.

Evans first off put up a spirited challenge against eventual the gold medalist in the 55kg category but a narrow defeat saw her medal hopes hanging by a thread. But the plucky Evans, who created history by becoming the first female to compete in three different sports at the Commonwealth Games after competing in both judo and weightlifting in the 2002 games, valiantly fought her way back into medal contention with two wins to force her way into bronze medal contention against Nigeria's Lo Edward.

The fight went down to the wire with the Nigerian getting the nod by a single point decision, and although Evans said the defeat was a bitter pill to swallow, the huge odds she had to overcome to get into medal contention suggest her dreams of competing in the Olympic Games aren't that far fetched after all.

"This is definitely not a setback for the Olympics as I now have a Commonwealth ranking," she said after the bout. "This is just the start really. I'm ranked fourth in the Commonwealth now which means I will now get to fight in the big tournaments like the Euorpeans. There's a clear path for qualifying now - I may as well give it a go.

"I made my weight which is probably the hardest thing I have ever done in my life - making the weight psychologically and physically was the hardest thing I have ever ever done - droppngg down to 55kgs was so hard to do - and today on fight day I was 59 1/2kg - I've put 5kgs on since yesterday," she added.

The Welsh contingent had hoped for a top eight finish so Evans has surpassed her team's aspirations but believes she will get better by competing at a higher level as her experience increases.

"I'm pleased with the way I fought," she said. "I couldn't have tried any harder, nobody totally smashed me, I lost my bouts on points. I'm really disappointed at not getting a medal but I fought my best.

"I lost more on tactics than anything - it was like sumo wrestling - so I've got to work on my tactics - if I lost to somebody not very good I would have been bitterly disappointed but the two fights I lost were to the eventual gold and bronze medalists and I fought really well against them. If I had been in the top half of the draw I could have been in the final - who knows?"

Evans is now hoping to use her Commonwealth Games quest as a springboard to success for next year's Commonwealth Championships which are being staged in Melbourne, Australia in July.

Wales Women's coach Jason Lewis paid tribute to Evans, saying: "It's a huge achievement to get into medal contention at the Commonwealth Games but particularly so in wrestling. To take part in the Women's Rugby World Cup and the Commonwealth Games in such a short space of time is a remarkable acheivement."