Records tumble at Welsh Championships
Gary Baker on 22/06/2012
Welsh stars set new records and personal bests as the national Championships celebrated the jubilee with a huge three-day tournament in Cardiff this month.
Athletes from the very young to seniors, both able bodied and disabled, turned on the style at the National Arena in Leckwith, and, for some, it was a warm-up for the biggest competition of their lives later this month, the British Olympic Trials in Birmingham.
Those Trials double as the UK (formerly AAA) Championships and every British athlete aiming for the London Olympic Games will be there.
And so will many Welsh aces. While some, like hurdler Rhys Williams and discus thrower Brett Morse, both regular attendees to his national competition, were away in Poland, others aiming to make their mark in Birmingham went for Welsh glory.
Hammer star Carys Parry, 31, is knocking on the selection door but needs to substantially improve her personal best by five metres to reach the golden Olympic 'A' standard of 71.50m that will put her in the Olympic reckoning (pictured top right - photo courtesy Gary Mitchell).
But she is gradually improving throw-by-throw during 2012 and in Cardiff, put the hammer out to 64.73m which, although short of her personal best, was her longest of the campaign so far.
Cardiff's Emily Brown added a new Championships best performance to her leading time of 2012 over the 2,000m steeplechase.
Brown, one of coach Darrell Maynard's impressive stable of athletes, clocked 6mins 57.52secs which took over five seconds off the previous best by Caryl Jones, of Carmarthen.
And Swansea Harrier Caryl Mair Jones romped to victory in the women's 5,000m and was so quick that she took almost a minute off the 15-year-old Championships record of Angharad Mair to win in 15mins 44.84secs.
Javelin thrower Lee Doran added another Championships record with a 77.99m effort, which he hopes to better at the UK Championships.
Without Morse around, Newport's Ryan Spencer-Jones managed a Welsh Championships double by taking both the discus crown and his specialist shot title.
Spencer-Jones, 25, threw 51.08m to comfortably win the discus and added a 17.16m effort for the shot gold.
However, he will need to power the shot out to over 20m in Birmingham - which will be just under two metres off his own personal best - to achieve just the Olympic 'B' standard for London.
Elsewhere, Welsh high jump record holder Rob Mitchell took his sixth Welsh Championships outdoor crown with a leap of 2.05m.
And Cardiff AC 19-year-old Rhys Knapman announced his 2012 arrival with a sprint double.
The teenager, coached by ex-Commonwealth Games silver medallist Matt Elias, beat club-mate Lemarl Freckleton into second place over the shorter sprint, crossing the line in 10.66secs.
Then he turned to the half-lap and took the honours, again from another Cardiff AC athlete in Gareth Hopkins, in 22.03secs.
Meanwhile, former World Junior Championships javelin ace Nathan Stephens recorded his best performance of the year in the seated throw.
Stephens, coached by Sport Wales Disability Coach of the Year Anthony Hughes, threw 37.17m which bettered his opening season mark of 36.84m when coming second in the Paralympic World Cup in Manchester last month.
And that puts him top of the British rankings in his category and with an excellent chance of selection for the London Paralympics in August and September.
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