By Tom Degun
June 25 - With exactly 100 days to go before the Commonwealth Games kick off in New Delhi, Neath-born swimmer and Beijing 2008 Olympian Tom Haffield (pictured) claimed he has his sights set on a gold medal as Wales declared that they are on track with their preparations for the Games.
The 22-year-old, who lives and trains in Cardiff, specialises in the 400 metres individual medley, where he holds the Commonwealth record and has competed against some of the biggest names in the sport including American superstars Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte.
Haffield, who is one of Wales’ top prospects for a medal in the Games, which open in Delhi on October 3, also finished sixth at the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games when he was just 17.
He believes that experience will be invaluable in the Indian capital.
Haffield told insidethegames: "Things are really going well in the pool for me right now and I’m looking forward to the Games.
"I remember when I went to Melbourne four years ago and I was totally in awe of everything as it was my first major international competition.
"The experience of competing there was invaluable and for me, the Commonwealth Games is the third biggest swimming event on the calendar behind the Olympics and the World Championships.
"I obviously made the final last time which was good and although I don’t want to make predictions or set too many targets, I think I can realistically hope to get on the podium and if I swim well enough, even grab the gold.
"But right now, all I am focusing on is training and hopefully I can make the country proud.
"I think the Commonwealth Games are a lot more important to people in Wales than people in England and they are the only multi-sport event where Wales competes in its own right.
"Therefore I will try my hardest to succeed.
"London 2012 is obviously the big event on the horizon and while that is in the back of your mind, I am really just focusing on New Delhi right now.
"While it is fantastic to represent Great Britain, I love swimming for Wales and I think that we can do very well in Delhi."
Wales' Chef de Mission Chris Jenkins echoed Haffield’s comments and stated that he believes Wales could make a big impact in Delhi, where they hope to take a team of approximately 200.
He said: "We will soon be in a position to announce squads that will feature in the Wales line-up and I can confirm that we will have a number of very exciting prospects.
"Athletes are not only set for a great sporting event but an amazing cultural experience.
"Delhi will look fantastic and will not be like any other Games because it will have such an Indian flavour.
"We are 100 days out and preparations are going very well.
"Wales is probably sending its most experienced support staff ever.
"We are ready to support our athletes so that they are able to deliver to their full potential in Delhi.
"We’ve got the likes of Nicky Phillips on board who has been to a series of Commonwealth Games and Olympic Games.
"In fact, she was chief physiotherapist for Team GB in Beijing."
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