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Anna Morris - The cycling doctor with appointments at the Games

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Anna Morris’s route to the Commonwealth Games couldn’t exactly be called traditional.

A junior doctor during the Covid-19 pandemic, the Cardiff-born athlete had an unusual journey to becoming a world class cyclist after growing up surrounded by sport. 

Growing up in Cardiff, a young Morris enjoyed netball, hockey, cross country, gymnastics, triathlon and tennis, but strangely enough, didn’t get on the cycling track until she was at university. 

Skip forward a few years, and Morris has already finished fourth in the women’s team pursuit and also represented her country in the time trial and road race at the Commonwealth Games.

While Morris has long been an obvious sporting enthusiast, it wasn’t until university that she started cycling properly, so why was it that she decided to get on the bike exactly? 

“I went off to the University of Southampton and wanted to find a triathlon club, and then in my second year I joined the university’s cycling club alongside the triathlon club because it made up a significant part of a triathlon and it was an area I needed to improve in,” explains Anna.

“I wanted to get more confident, and it just went from there really. They wanted people for the track team at the university championships, so I started doing track sessions. 

“It started to get difficult when I was on placement in my third year while juggling three sports.

“Running was probably the easiest time-wise, but I struggled with injury, so I was riding the bike more and more and I just kept improving, which is always a good way to keep motivated. 

“I am very fortunate and grateful that the university cycling team helped me so much.”

When Morris finished her degree, she began working as a junior doctor during the Covid-19 pandemic, before taking a well-earned break to focus on her other passion.

“I worked in 2020 and 2021, so the Commonwealth Games, marks a year from when I took a year out to concentrate on my cycling,” she says.

“Fortunately, it has paid off. I’ve gained a lot of experience, so I’ll just have to see how it goes.”

Morris went to Llanishen High school in Cardiff and is joined by several past alumni in Team Wales team for this year's Commonwealth Games. 

The list includes classmate Elinor Barker and her younger sister Megan, Jake Hayward, Bethan Davies and Luke Rowe. 

The 27-year-old grew up encouraged by her parents and school to play a variety of sports and was captivated from an early age.

Anna Morris (black helmet), Megan Barker, Ella Barnwell and Jessica Roberts (white helmets) sit and prepare for their team pursuit
Anna Morris (black helmet) prepares with her teammates, Megan Barker, Ella Barnwell and Jessica Roberts, for the team pursuit at the Commonwealth Games. Photo: SW Pix
I was sport mad when I was younger. Gymnastics was my main sport back then! I was always busy, there was hockey, netball and cross country at school. I was doing athletics and some tennis outside so there was a lot of variety really.
Anna Morris

“I was sport mad when I was younger. Gymnastics was my main sport back then! 

“I was always busy, there was hockey, netball and cross country at school. I was doing athletics and some tennis outside so there was a lot of variety really. 

“I remember joining Cardiff junior triathlon club during high school. I borrowed a bike and we would train at Maindy. I really enjoyed trying new sports, but I just loved getting on the bike straight away.”

At the time, Morris was at the beginning of a promising career in medicine before support from Welsh Cycling and Sports Wales helped her achieve her dreams and represent her country at the Commonwealth Games. 

“I was getting close to the university individual pursuit record in my final year, which was held previously by Ciara Horne. 

“I thought that would be a good way to bow out. But at the time, Welsh Cycling were advertising a senior support programme for women.

“I wasn’t expecting to carry on; I thought when I was a doctor that cycling was going to be a hobby. 

“I wasn’t sure how I’d be able to balance it, but I enjoyed it. I started getting support from Welsh Cycling and Sport Wales.”

Morris hasn’t given up on her other dream of a future in medicine and is optimistic about her future in both arenas. 

Even after graduating from medical school, there is a long road of training ahead for Morris, but she is hoping to enjoy her fledgling career in cycling before continuing in medicine. 

“When you are working as a doctor, obviously work comes first, so there are times when it is difficult to keep up with training. It is quite nice to focus on my cycling and keep improving,” she says.

“I finished my first training program. Instead of jumping into the next one, I knew I wasn’t getting any younger, and the intention is to work for a long time after cycling, so I just knew I had to go for it.”

For Morris, it is a huge honour and is a testament to how hard she has worked to have been selected by Team Wales and to compete in the Commonwealth Games. 

“My family are all coming up, they are all very excited! I have a few friends who will be watching and I’m really looking forward to having everyone come up to watch. 

“I’m not 100% sure how it’s going to go. Training has been pretty smooth, with no real injury setbacks. I’m not entirely sure where I’m at but I’m just really excited to give it my all and just see where I come out. 

“I can really feel the atmosphere building up here. It is an amazing feeling to pull on that red jersey. 

“It is the highest level at which you can represent Wales, so to do that and in front of a sort of home crowd will be really special.” 

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