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'It's so surreal - people see you as some sort of superstar' They were the Welsh stars who helped make London 2012 such a stunning success. In the latest of our series of interviews with the triumphant athletes, Paralympian Aled Sion Davies tells James McCarthy how he stays grounded despite his new-found celebrity status.

Byline: James McCarthy

GOLD medal winner Aled Sion Davies has been amazed by his new star status and insisted: "I'm still Aled!" But the Paralympian has been enjoying his new life since returning from London 2012 with a victory in the discus.

"It's been quite a roller coaster," the 21-year-old said.

"It has been such a dream come true.

"After the amount of hard work I had put into it I was happy to deliver on such a great stage.

"What's happened? Quite a bit to be honest. I've been going about sharing my story and just doing lots of appearances.

"And I have been back into training.

"It's so surreal because people still see you as some sort of superstar."

When he returned to Wales after the games he was mobbed by well-wishers at his gold postbox in Bridgend.

Millions around the world saw him romp home with gold in a stadium packed with 80,000 fans.

His victory throw bagged him a European record. The Duchess of Cambridge hung his medal around his neck.

"But I'm still Aled who trains out of Cardiff," he said.

In September his mum Jacquie revealed: "He loves all the attention he's getting."

He admitted as much.

"It's a surreal lifestyle but I am enjoying every day as it comes," he said. "Because I'm a gold medallist a lot of people are starstruck when they meet me. It's an incredible feeling but I am like, 'It's only me!' "But it is nice that people look up to me."

Bridgend-born Aled claimed "everyone wants a bit of London. People who missed out are a bit gutted," he said.

He has taken advantage of his new found celebrity on nights out.

But he has yet to say, "Do you know who I am?' "I've never dropped that line," he said. "It would not be like me to do that."

He rarely dons his medals (he also brought back a bronze in the shotput.) "I keep them on top of my alarm clock in my room," Aled said.

"They are a reminder of everything I have done.

"I open the boxes from time to time to look at them. It's usually fans who want to don them.

"The last time I put it on was probably the homecoming.

"Normally a lot of people want to wear it. I don't mind them putting it on but I wouldn't want to put on someone else's medal."

Ambitious Aled was born with hemimelia of the right leg meaning he has no fibula in it.

Despite his win, he is keen not to rest on his laurels.

"I've got a lot of things I want to check off," he said.

"I am not at world champion level. I want to better the bronze in my second event and then I want to head to Rio.

"And who knows what is going to happen?" The Rio 2016 games are never from his thoughts.

"As long as everything goes to plan the dream of two golds will be there," he said.

"I just have to train hard and hope for the best."

In the meantime, Aled is looking forward to the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.

"Something that is close to my heart is the Commonwealth Games. It is such a big thing because I am a patriotic Welshman."

He hopes to return from Scotland with a medal.

"The colour will be decided on the night," he said.

TOMORROW Don't miss our interview with Ellie Simmonds

CAPTION(S):

Aled Sion Davies celebrates winning gold in the men's discus throw and, below, Aled competing

PICTURE: Chris Radburn/PA
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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jan 3, 2013
Words:604
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