BOLTON’S Craig Pilling admits it is taking time for it to sink in that he is Wales’ first Commonwealth Games wrestling medallist.
The 27-year-old member of Bolton Olympic Wrestling Club was still on cloud nine just hours after beating England’s Omar Tafail 8-5 in the third/fourth place play-off in the 57kg category.
He said: “I did not know (about the record). It was only when I came off the mat and talked to family and friends that I found out.
“It is amazing and a great thing to happen.
“I was so busy after the medal ceremony with speaking to the media that it has not really sunk in.
“My phone and social media has not really stopped and I am just going to enjoy it.”
The medal makes up for the disappointment of 2010 in Delhi when Pilling missed out on bronze.
Now he is looking forward to a break away from the mat after working on his technique over the past 12 months.
“I am going for a few weeks off,” he said. “I have been pretty much full-time over the past few weeks but it was all worth it.
“I will probably return in three weeks to try to get ready for the European Championships.”
A coach at Bolton Olympic Wrestling Club, he is hoping his success can inspire the next generation of talent at the club.
He said: “I am proud to have added to the history there.
“There have been lots of Commonwealth Games medallists from our club and now I can join that list.”
Pilling is keeping his fingers crossed that club-mate Louisa Porogovksa can follow in his footsteps when she wrestles for England at 11.06am today against Scotland’s Chelsea Murphy in the quarter-finals of the women’s 55kg category.
He said: “I will be cheering Louisa on and I hope she can also bring home a medal after all her hard work.”
Westhoughton’s Philip Roberts will kick things off in England colours at 10am when he takes on Pakistan’s Muhammed Salman in the 65kg round of 16.