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John Davies

Born in Llwynypia, he moved to London and competed for most of his career with Thames Valley Harriers. He still holds the club records for 3,000 the 10,000 metres and the 3,000 metres steeplechase and is second in the Welsh rankings in the steeplechase with his best time of 8 minutes, 22.48 seconds. 

He was the Welsh Under 15 Boys cross country champion in 1968, Under 17 Youths champion in 1970 and the Under 17 champion on the track in the steeplechase in 1968 and 1969. He was Junior champion in 1970 and 1971 and became the Welsh senior champion in 1977 and 1978, his 1977 time of 8:33.8 seconds lasting as a Welsh Championship best until it was beaten by Roger Hackney in 1989.

Five times he lowered the Welsh steeplechase record between 1973 and 1974, holding the record for nine years, and his victory at the AAA Championships in 1974 in 8 minutes, 22.48 seconds broke the British record. 

He ran 9.21.6 aged 16 to notch a British Under 17 record for the steeplechase and became the Welsh senior record holder at the age of 20 when he clocked 8 minutes, 33.6 seconds in Warsaw. Within two months he had trimmed a further five-and-a-half-seconds off that time and was on his way to the Commonwealth Games in Christchurch, New Zealand, to do battle with the Kenyans. 

He celebrated his 21st birthday two months before the Games and battled his way to a belated birthday present to prove that every cloud can have a silver lining. A last lap tussle with the Kenyan Evans Mogaka as the two men chased after Ben Jipcho led to both men tumbling to the ground. 

The flare-up came just after the bell for the last lap. There was a tangle of arms as Mogaka tried to pass Davies and he caught the leg of leader Jipcho and crashed heavily, bringing Mogaka down on top of him. 

But our latest Hall of Famer got up to produce one of the greatest track efforts ever seen by a Welsh athlete as he improved his Welsh record and picked up the silver medal – although not after he had been forced to endure a five hour wait. 

The Kenyan’s complained, our man was disqualified, the tape of the race was taken to a local TV station to be reviewed and, thankfully, he was reinstated. 

He won 11 British and 12 Welsh international vests during his career and twice ran for Wales at the World Cross Country Championships. He went to the 1978 Commonwealth Games in Edmonton and competed in both the 1500 metres and the Steeplechase, but couldn’t repeat his heroics of four years earlier. 

He was dogged by injuries after his return from Canada and in 1979 he suffered back and kidney problems. A year later he required an operation to remove a growth on his ankle and in 1981 he underwent surgery on his Achilles tendon.