The 100th edition of the Welsh Championships took place in Cardiff on the weekend, incorporating the 2018 Commonwealth Games Trials.
A new format saw events on Friday evening with a full programme on the Saturday. Both sessions were lucky to escape the poor weather conditions that had been predicted with light winds unable to hamper performances.
The Open Championships also featured a selection of children’s and masters events. Highlights there included a narrow win in an exctiting U15 Girls 1500m where Nia Clatworthy (Coach: Arwyn Davies / Cardiff AAC) ran 4.53 for victory.
Another highlight was an 800m win for Peter Watkeys (Basingstoke & Mid Hants) in 2.03. Watkeys' win came at MM35 level where he is a Worldd Championship Bronze medalist.
In addition a parade of previous champions acted as a celebration of the best Welsh talent over the years and included; Former World Marathon record holder Steve Jones, Olympic Long Jump Champion Lynn Davies CBE, and European, Commonwealth, World and Olympic medallist Jamie Baulch.
Lynn Davies CBE leads the Parade of Champions
Commonwealth Games Silver medalist Venissa Head and the 1998 Commonwealth Games Bronze medallist Shaun Pickering were also present. Pickering commented on the experience saying; ‘’ It was an honour to walk alongside so many great Champions from the past’’.
The men’s 100m final is always a highlight at any championships. Sam Gordon (Coach: Matt Elias) of Cardiff AAC took on clubmate and 2016 champion Anax DaSilva. It was Gordon however who stopped the clock in 10.32 to become the sixth fastest Welsh athlete of all time.
Thomas Williams (Coach: Tom Meyer / Cardiff AAC) was outstanding in the penultimate event of the programme, becoming the first Welshman to run under 21 seconds in the 200m since Christian Malcolm in 2012, posting 20.97.
Williams commented saying; it was an unbelievable feeling to run under 21 seconds and to do so at the champs and win, made it even more special. I am excited to see how the rest of the season plays out"
Tom Williams (92) under 21 seconds over 200m
Joe Brier (Coach: Neal Merry / Swansea Harriers) was unable to retain his title in the 400m despite leading at the halfway mark. It was Owen Smith (Coach: Matt Elias / Cardiff AAC) who proved strongest and was crowned the Welsh Champion finishing in 47.41 to Briers 48.25.
The men’s 800m saw Cardiff AAC’s Alex Coomber (Coach: Arwyn Davies / Cardiff AAC) add a Welsh title here to his indoor title in February. He did so ahead of Tom Marshall (Coach: James Thie / Cardiff AAC) who continued his chase for Commonwealth Games qualification.
The 1500m saw six men run 3.50 or faster and was won by Cardiff AAC’s Rowan Axe (Coach: Craig Winrow). The local man ran away from a loaded field which included the 2016 European Youth Champion, Jake Heyward (Coach: Paul Darney / Cardiff AAC).
Ieuan Thomas (Coach: James Thie / Cardiff AAC) and Jon Hopkins (Coach: Chris Jones / Swansea Harriers) were also in the race. Both already have the qualifying standard in the 3,000m S/C.
Swansea Harrier Dewi Griffiths (Coach: Kevin Evans / Swansea Harriers) was impressive in the 5,000m with a lone display which saw him run a PB in 13.50 and dip under 14 minutes for the second time in eight days.
The Harrier already has the qualification mark in the 10,000m after running 28.16 at the Payton Jordon International in May.
Dewi Griffiths ran under the 14 minute mark
Brett Morse Cardiff AAC took yet another title in the men’s discuss with a mark of 59.76. Morse was a gracious winner commenting; ‘’ I want to say a huge thank you to the officials in the men’s discus today who were really helpful throughout the competition’’.
Liverpool Harrier Osian Jones (Coach: Carys Parry) posted a season’s best and a B standard in the Hammer whilst regaining his title from 2015 with a throw of 66.90.
Aled Davies of the Disability Sport Wales Academy threw 52.52 to win his F42 category in the Discuss. Davies is the Paralympic, European and World Champion.
Birchfield Harrier Mica Moore (Coach: Lawrence Moore) took 100m gold in 11.79, the fastest time she has run since 2014 when she represented Wales at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games in the relay.
Hannah Thomas (Coach: Neil Wheeler / Cardiff AAC) was also in that team and took 200m victory on Saturday in 24.67.
Cari Hughes (Coach: Steve Ingram / Swansea Harriers) has begun the summer season in fine form following a dominant winter season where she earned a debut Great Britain & Northern Ireland Vest.
Hughes was impressive in the 1500m taking victory for her new club Swansea Harriers in 4.25.56 ahead of Charlotte Taylor Green in second and Jade Williams who took the Silver medal in the Welsh Championships.
Bronwen Owen (Coach: Andrew Henderson) was another talented junior who took a Welsh Senior title at the Championships. Her victory came in the 5,000m. The Scarborough athlete was just outside her previous best in 16.36.
Bethan Davies (Coach: Andi Drake / Cardiff AAC) enjoyed some under distance work in the 3,000m walk coming agonisingly close to her own Welsh record in a time of 12:26.
Bethan Davies is congratulated by runner up, Alana Barber
Heather Lewis (Coach: Martin Bell / Pembrokeshire Harriers) was next home in the Championships with 13.30. The pair were split in the open event by New Zealander Alana Barber.
Cardiff AAC’s Rebecca Chapman (Coach: Francis Baker) twice leaped over 6.30m in the long jump, and with a best of 6.32m for victory.
There was an impressive 12th title for Carys Parry (Coach: Adrian Palmer / Rhondda AAC) in the Hammer, securing a commonwealth games qualifying A standard of 65.32m in the process.
In fourth place, U20 thrower Amber Simpson (Coach: John Parkin / Deeside AAC) extended her own Welsh U20 record to 56.43m.
Carys Parry receives her 12th Gold medal
Head of Coaching and Performance Scott Simpson said; “The 100th Anniversary of the Welsh Championships was a special occasion and provided a great window into the exciting talent that is current on display in Wales’’.
He remarked ‘’Highlights for me included; seeing Carys Parry return to form with a CWG “A” standard in the women’s Hammer, Tom Williams break the 21 second barrier in the 200m and Dewi Griffiths run a fabulous solo 5000m for the second week in a row, running 13.50 in strong winds on both occasions’’.
Finally Simpson added ‘’My personal thanks to all those who made it such a great day and memorable experience for all those involved.”
Pictures by Melissa Gresswell. The full gallery can be found here.