Thrilled Rhys revels in torch-bearing role

Rhys Eynon carries Olympic Torch with pride. Picture: Bill Carne

Rhys Eynon carries Olympic Torch with pride. Picture: Bill Carne

First published in Pembrokeshire sports news

When the Olympic Torch was carried through Haverfordwest, flanked by hugely enthusiastic crowds, the second bearer of the magical flame was Rhys Eynon, who hails from Llandissilio.

Rhys carried the torch from outside Munts the Jewellers in High Street up to the Kings Arms, just past the library, and said: “The atmosphere was electric and very emotional, like being a rock star at Wembley Stadium.”

When asked if he had walked or jogged he laughingly admitted: “To be honest I think I put on a bit of a strut and even played my air guitar for a little moment!”

He received the flame from Adam Goy and no-one was more thrilled than Rhys’s parents, Sandra and Ian, brother Phillip, granddad Griff and nanna Avril, plus his uncle John Jenkins —not least because Rhys has overcome his autism to reach Black Belt status in karate under the watchful eye of Mike Blackborow at his club in Clynderwen.

Rhys is also involved in swimming with the Pembrokeshire Puffins and football with the Cleddau Warriors, with the great support of Angela Miles, the Disability Sport Officer for Sport Pembrokeshire, who was also thrilled for Rhys because she knows how much effort he has made in his sport Rhys first learned that his nomination was successful around Christmas time, when he received an e-mail from sponsors Samsung - and he was naturally surprised, and thrilled to bits!

There followed more e-mails in the intervening time, asking for his measurements for the special white and gold suit — and learned that he had to provide his own white footwear, without any endorsements.

Then a pack arrived with his clothes and the good news that his short trek with the torch, which he was allowed to keep, was in the heart of Haverfordwest.

When he woke up on the big day, Rhys was quite relaxed as he arrived at STP School in plenty of time to be picked up by the special bus that conveyed the torch bearers to their starting point, and were amazed at the number of people who were about.

The big day positively flew by and Rhys was understandably pleased with the way things went.

“I wasn’t very positive about the whole thing a few weeks ago,” he told Telegraph Sport, “but a friend called Melissa made me realise what an honour it was and how I shouldn’t worry about things but just to savour it and enjoy every moment.”

Rhys did just that and was heavily involved afterwards as he met up with his family and was asked by a number of parents if their young children could be photographed with him and his gleaming torch. Rhys readily agreed and clearly helped make the youngsters’ day, as his had been made by his participation in a once in a lifetime experience.

Rhys Eynon added: “It is a day that I will never forget because it really was wonderful - and I hope that those watching also had a great day out.”

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