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'Iwan loss will make us harder'.

Iwan Thomas' shock withdrawal from Wales' Commonwealth Games squad has only served to harden his teammates' resolve, says team coach Phil Banning.

Speaking from his hotel in Australia, Banning, performance director of Welsh Athletics said: 'Obviously, Iwan's withdrawal is a major blow to us but morale is still high.

'Ironically, the pressure has eased now because nobody is expecting them to get anywhere.

'We've lost Tim Benjamin and now Iwan but we have some real scrappers in the team in Matt Elias, Rhys Williams and Gareth Warburton and although Dai Greene is relatively inexperienced we think we can still surprise a few teams who might see us as a soft touch now.

'We'll be anything but a soft touch, that's for sure.'
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Mar 7, 2006
Words:122
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