​Colin Jackson jumps at the chance of learning Welsh

31 January 2020

World Champion sprinter and hurdler Colin Jackson is used to training hard to reach his goals.

But how will the Olympic medal winner deal with the challenge of learning Welsh?

Colin, who was born and brought up in Cardiff, has been revealed as the third celebrity to take part in Iaith ar Daith (Welsh on Tour) - a brand new series on S4C this spring.

Colin is one of five celebs – including Ruth Jones and Carol Vorderman – who go on the road to different parts of Wales with a well-known Welsh-speaking mentor, in order to learn Welsh.

The TV and radio presenter Eleri Siôn is Colin's mentor and the two have been filming in Aberystwyth and Cardiff over the last couple of days.

As part of the series, each of the celebrities must undertake a number of challenges. And one of Colin's challenges is to show that he can understand and respond to questions in an interview in Welsh.

Colin will be calling in at the BBC studios in Aberystwyth and will be a special guest on Ifan Jones Evans's afternoon show on Radio Cymru on Monday, 3 February.

Speaking ahead of the challenge Colin said:

"I am a bit nervous and anxious - nerves are my worst enemy.

"I get very frustrated if I can't articulate or express myself. But I hope that me and Eleri will have fun.

Eleri Siôn will be Colin's mentor during the series.

"I hope that we'll have a laugh and that she'll enjoy it as well as guiding me through stuff.

"I hope she'll help trigger the things I've forgotten and get me repeating stuff and really get a feel for the language."

Colin said that he wants to learn Welsh as he was jealous of his sister, the actor Suzanne Packer's abilities in the language.

"My sister is learning and is doing really well. I see that speaking Welsh has helped her engage with Wales more.

"I feel like I am capable of doing it, but I'll be doing it at a slow pace. But by this time next year, I will be an expert!"

"I've got a real sense of desire to learn Welsh – I think you have to really want to do it – it is something that is within you."

And how does Colin feel about doing his media challenge - the interview on Ifan Jones Evans's show?

"It will feel like the longest interview that I have ever done," said Colin. "But I am looking forward to it. As long as Ifan speaks slowly and the questions aren't too complicated, I'll be fine - I will survive!"

Earlier this month S4C announced that the presenter Carol Vorderman and the actor and writer Ruth Jones would be taking part in Iaith ar Daith.

Carol Vorderman presenting the weather on S4C, as part of Iaith ar Daith.

As one of her tasks, Ruth had to learn a script and deliver her lines in Welsh in the popular soap Pobol y Cwm while Carol presented the weather on S4C in Welsh.

Look out for more news on Iaith ar Daith over the next few weeks when two more well-known faces will be announced along with their mentors.

If you missed Ruth Jones's appearance on Pobol y Cwm on Tuesday, January 21, you can catch up on S4C Clic or BBC iPlayer.

Iaith ar Daith is a Boom Cymru production for S4C.

Iaith ar Daith is sponsored by learnwelsh.cymru. For more information about Welsh courses, opportunities to practise your Welsh or to access over 1000 free digital learning resources, go to learnwelsh.cymru.

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