Tuesday 2nd October, 2018
Hurdling stars Matt Elias and Rhys Williams were among five distinguished Welsh sporting greats who brought honour and distinction to themselves, their country and Welsh Athletics as they were welcomed in to the Hall of Fame on Saturday night at the Hilton in Cardiff. Previous inductees Lynn Davies, Steve Jones, Ron Jones and Berwyn Price were there to present the awards, and Welsh rugby star JJ Williams was on hand to celebrate his son Rhys being honoured.
“It was an absolute honour to be inducted into the Welsh Athletics Hall of Fame last night, joining some legends of the sport in Wales. I’m so thankful to share the night with family and friends” said an emotional Matt Elias who was presented with this award by fellow Hall of Famer, Christian Malcolm.
The first inductee of the night was Olympic medallist Nick Whitehead, one of two 100m sprinters from the glory days of Welsh sprinting to be honoured posthumously.
Nick won medals at the Olympic and Commonwealth Games, broke or equalled the Welsh 100 yards record seven times and went on to become the British athletics Olympic team manager. He became the first director of the National Coaching Foundation in 1983 before returning to Wales to become the deputy director of the Sports Council for Wales. Nick’s family were present to collect his award on moving occasion for them, Nick’s young grandson getting to hear his Grandfather speak for the first time as archive footage was played.
Next was another sprint star, Berwyn Jones, who was part of the British relay team that equalled the world record on a very special occasion at the White City in 196s. Berwyn ran the anchor leg for the Great Britain team, holding off Hayes of the USA to bring the team home in that world record time.
High jumper Julie Crane became the 9th female athlete to join the Hall of Fame. She represented Wales at three Commonwealth Games - 1998, 2002 and 2006 – and represented Great Britain at the 2006 European Super League Final in Malaga.
The highlight of her career came in Melbourne in 2006 when she won the silver medal for Wales at the Commonwealth Games, clearing 1.88 metres.
Rhys Williams was the final inductee of the night, his achievements include being European Youths, Under 20, Under 23 and Senior champion at 400 hurdles, and representing Wales at the 2006 and 2010 Commonwealth Games.
The Welsh Hall of Fame dinner takes place every two years and this was the 8th occasion with 32 athletes now inducted including Colin Jackson, Lynn Davies, Steve Jones, Christian Malcolm, Tanni Grey-Thompson, Iwan Thomas, Jamie Baulch, Michelle Scutt, and Hayley Tullett.