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Bob Shaw

Born in Taffs Well 81 years ago, he moved to Manchester when his father took up an appointment there in 1948 and he won the first of his six senior Welsh titles while still a teenager at Manchester Grammar School. 

At the same age, 18, he also captured the AAA Junior discus and 120 yard hurdles titles on the same day at Perry Bar – both with Welsh junior records and the latter with a Championship best time. 

His four Welsh senior titles in the high hurdles came in 1951, 1954, 1955 and 1957 and he won the 440 yard hurdles in 1954 and 1955. He also picked up two bronzes in the discus. His 1955 mark of 55.2 seconds in the 440 yards hurdles stood as a Welsh Championship record for 15 years. 

He won four Blues for athletics while at Oxford University and became the first Welshman to win the AAA 440 yards hurdles title in 1955 in a time of 52.2 seconds. 

The year before in Vancouver, Canada, he struck bronze for Wales at the Empire and Commonwealth Games in a Welsh record time of 53.3 seconds in his first season in the event. That was Wales’ first athletics medal at the Games since Jim Alford’s gold in the mile in Sydney in 1938. 

He also competed at the European Championships in Berne, Switzerland in 1954, three times lowering the Welsh 400 metre hurdles record on his way to finishing fifth in the final in 52.3 seconds. He then went to Melbourne in 1956 with the British Olympic team, but failed to qualify from his heat. 

He was captain of the Welsh athletics team at the 1958 Empire and Commonwealth Games in Cardiff, but just missed out on a final berth when he finished fourth in his semi-final. 

In Budapaest in 1956 he lowered the Welsh record for an eighth time when he recorded 51.7 seconds. That time wasn’t beaten until 1974 and he also held the 120 yard hurdles Welsh record for 16 years.