Day 2 at the British Athletics Championships proved to be another successful day for welsh athletes in sunny Birmingham.
Swansea's Dai Greene proved he's on his way back to top form as he won a highly competitive Men's 400m Hurdles race which included four athletes already having achieved the European Qualifying Standard. Dai set off hard through the first 200m and managed to cling on to victory in the last 50m as he was challenged by Jack Green and Seb Rodger. The win all but secures Dai's place at the European Championships after having already secured the qualifying time himself this season.
Speaking after his race, Dai commented "The aim was to get to Europeans. I haven’t raced much and I still feel a bit rusty. I don’t know I have the ability to get onto the podium. It’s about grinding out the next five weeks and being British Champion today is even sweeter. I would have liked a faster time but it was about winning today. I’m looking forward to what the next few weeks bring."
The Women's 5,000m saw three welsh athletes finish in the top seven positions. Gold Coast bronze medallist Melissa Courtney (Poole AC) took the silver medal as she finished a close second to Steph Twell in a time of 16:07, all but securing her sot at the European Championships. Finishing closely behind Melissa was Cardiff's Charlotte Arter who came 4th in 16:12 whilst Jenny Nesbitt (Worcester AC) also ran a season's best to finish in 7th place.
The day got off to a great start for race walker Bethan Davies (Cardiff AAC) who eased to victory in the Women's 5,000m Race Walk in a time of 22:04 to add yet another British title to her name, after she won the British 20km Championships and European Trial race in Leeds last weekend.
Speaking after her victory, Bethan commented "I’m very happy to have another British title and do what I did because I’ve been struggling with fatigue recently. It’s important for our event because our main discipline is 20km so it’s great to have this in the programme to show everyone what race walking is and how fast we can go. This is a good tuner for the Europeans and a good bit of fun. My confidence is picking up following the bronze in the Commonwealth Games. Swansea's Megan Stratton-Thomas was unfortunately disqualified after it appeared she was on for a lifetime performance, as did Tonbridge AC's Guy Thomas in the Men's 5k Race Walk.
In the Women's Javelin Throw, Bethan Rees (Cannock & Stafford) produced a throw of 48.30m to earn the bronze medal, bettering her performance of 47.22m when she was crowned Welsh Junior Champion in Newport last weekend. Speaking afterterwards, she commented "It’s such an amazing experience. This is my first bronze at the British Championships because I came fourth last year. Now it’s about improving my personal best."
In the women's 200m, Wrexham AC's Amy Odunaiya produced another excellent performance as she doubled back from her 100m on Saturday to run a lifetime best of 24.40 seconds, finishing 5th in her heat which wasn't quite enough to see her through to the Final. Meanwhile in the Men's 200m, Lemarl Freckleton (Swansea Harriers) equalled his lifetime best with 21.48 seconds to finish 6th in Heat 2 and Kris Jones (Cardiff AAC) produced a new lifetime best performance of 21.04 to finish 2nd in Heat 3.
Elsewhere in the field, Cardiff junior Sarah Omoregie finished 6th in the Women's Shot Put with 13.82m, whilst Sarah Abrams (Blackheath) jumped a big lifetime best of 6.31m in the Women's Long Jump to finish 8th, with Becca Chapman (Cardiff AAC) finishing 12th with 6.11m. Cardiff AAC's Jon Bailey equalled his season's best in the Men's High Jump as he finished 10th with 2.08m
In the Men's 400m, Cardiff's Owen Smith finished 6th in a highly competitive Final with 46.78, whilst Ffion Price (Cardiff AAC) and Beth Kidger (Brighton Phoenix) finished 8th and 12th respectively in the Women's 1,500m Final.