Apart from being a rugby nation, Wales now features Premier League football. It boasts a number of championship-class golf courses, has world-class sports arenas, hosts major international motor sport events, the Iron Man Wales triathlon, marathons, and the spectacular coastline has year-round water sports activities like yachting, powerboat and longboat racing.
The Llandudno Sea Triathlon includes a sea swim and a challenging ride around the Great Orme with its fabulous views. Taking part or spectating, this is a great event to attend.
The Great Strait Raft Run is held annually on the majestic waters of the Menai Strait. The spectacular backdrop of Snowdonia’s mountains and the Isle of Anglesey’s natural beauty contribute to the uniqueness of this fun and challenging day of rafting and raising money for good causes. Starting from the old slate port of Felinheli on the mainland and finishing on Anglesey.
Golf championships are held at Nefyn, Harlech and Aberdyfi – all courses which are in the top 100 in the UK. National, European and world sailing events take place at Pwllheli and Abersoch, and the Three Peaks Yacht Race at Barmouth.
Along the coast of Cardigan Bay there are regattas at Aberaeron, New Quay and Tresaith; the 85 mile Celtic Challenge longboat race from Arklow in Ireland, to Aberystwyth, is the world’s longest rowing race; the Aberystwyth Cycle Festival, and the Aberaeron Rugby Sevens Tournament in August.
The Ironman Wales triathlon, held for the first time in Pembrokeshire in September 2011, is the county’s biggest ever sporting event, attracting international competitors and thousands of visitors.
Fishing competitions are popular on the coast in Carmarthenshire; there’s land yachting at Cefn Sidan, and excellent golf at Ashburnham, Pembrey and Machynys, Llanelli. Parc y Scarlets, home to the famous Scarlets Rugby Football Club can also be found in Llanelli.
The Wales Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, one of Europe’s biggest sports arenas, is home to the national rugby team.Cardiff Devils is an Elite League ice hockey team which plays in Cardiff Bay. Cardiff Bay Water Activity Centre & Cardiff Sailing Centre is now an established water activities destination catering for canoeing, rowing and sailing.
Wales National Velodrome, part of the Newport International Sports Village, is one of only two nationally-recognised indoor velodromes in Britain, with a spectacularly banked, 250m cycle track used for world-class events.
The Welsh National Chepstow Race Course is a unique leisure venue for horse racing, and home to the Welsh Grand National. The Marriott St Pierre Golf Course one of the most popular courses in Wales, has hosted major tournaments like the Dunlop Masters, Curtis Cup and Solheim Cup; Dewstow is another popular Monmouthshire golf course.
Royal Porthcawl Golf Club, an 18 hole links course, has an enviable reputation as one of the finest courses in the world. It hugs the Wales Coast Path and offers great sea views from most holes. It will host the British Seniors Open Championship in 2014.