Global sporting icon Gareth Bale is looking to inspire the next generation of golfers in Wales by backing a new national Under 16 event for boys and girls.
Working with Wales Golf, which will run the national junior championship at the beginning of June, the tournament is the start of a three-year partnership between Wales Golf, Bale and his management company, ICM Stellar Sports.
The event will be part of a Festival of Sport, highlighting the importance of non-early specialisation in sport, with the FAW, WRU, Sport Wales and other sports involved at the event held at The Vale Resort.
The involvement of one of Wales’s greatest ever sporting superstars will help inspire young people to take up golf, as well as promoting the health benefits as a life-long sport, which can work well being played alongside other sports.
Bale, a global ambassador for The R&A, the sport’s governing body, said: “As a boy I played every sport I could and I’m sure that helped my development as an athlete. I think it’s great that young people in Wales are getting the chance to give golf a try and I’m delighted to play my part in encouraging them to do so.”
The Wales Golf and ICM Stellar Festival of Sport and Golf Championship will be an elite Welsh junior golf event, giving golfers under the age of 16 the opportunity to compete on the national stage. The event near Cardiff on June 1-2 will also be listed on the World Amateur Golf Rankings, a 54-hole event for approximately 84 Welsh players.
“Gareth Bale’s love of golf is well known, but getting so actively involved in helping to promote the sport in Wales is a fantastic gesture from such a great role model,” said Hannah McAllister, Wales Golf Chief Executive. “It will be an amazing opportunity for the best young golfers in Wales to be part of this event and be inspired by someone like Gareth Bale who has achieved so much in a Wales jersey, as well as all his other many footballing achievements.
“Wales Golf is also delighted that this is the start of a long term partnership and relationship with Gareth Bale based around our shared love of golf. This is also a great opportunity to foster the relationship with Sport Wales and other sports governing bodies in Wales to show young players can continue to play many sports without hindering their development in golf. Wales Golf would like to thank Sport Wales and The R&A for supporting the event.”
The event will be a festival of sports, including football, rugby, basketball, table tennis, and volleyball, amongst others.
Brian Davies, Sport Wales Acting Chief Executive Officer, said: “Giving youngsters the opportunity to take part in a number of different sports from a young age will only support them in developing healthy, active lifestyles and in becoming a better all-round athlete. It’s great that Wales Golf and other National Governing Bodies are able to come together and support this. We also know how important role models are in encouraging youngsters to give a sport a try and I have no doubt that Welsh legend, Gareth Bale will be able to persuade a few of them to pick up a golf club and try lots of other sports too.”
By working alongside the Vale of Glamorgan Council, the aim will also be to open the festival of sport to young people who may not enjoy easy access to those recreational sports. All participants will have the opportunity to try golf and take part in golf development activities, including a group taster golf session and an inflatable dartboard.
June is likely to be a busy month for Bale, as his Wales team are within one match of qualifying for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, with a final qualifying play-off against either Scotland or Ukraine scheduled for that month.