A plaque was unveiled at Neath Sports Centre on Friday 29 June 2018 to commemorate Cecil Griffiths, a Neath resident who is one of only four Welsh athletes to win a gold medal at the Olympic Games, his success coming in 1920 in the 4 x 400m relay. The plaque was unveiled by Christina Rees, MP for Neath Port Talbot. Also present was the Mayor of Neath, Mark Protheroe. Lynette Harries represented Welsh Athletics in her capacity as President. The driving force behind the ceremony was John Hanna, husband of Cecil Griffiths’ granddaughter, and Celtic Leisure were a great help in organizing the event, which was televised on S4C. A new housing estate in Tonna includes a street which will be named Cecil Griffiths Close in his honour.
In the 1920s, Cecil Griffiths was on the best 400/800m runners in the world. In 1924, just a few weeks before the ‘Chariots of Fire’ Olympics in Paris, he beat Douglas Lowe over 880 yards. In Griffiths’ absence, Lowe went on to win the Olympic title. The reason Griffiths was not selected was that he was banned from International competition after it was discovered that as a teenager he had competed in a couple of local meetings which offered cash prizes. In the days when any hint of ‘professionalism’ was regarded as a cardinal sin he was allowed to compete only in domestic competition from then on.We can only speculate what he might have achieved in Paris.
Alan and Brenda Currie