By Owen Morgan
Cardiff sprinter Sam Gordon blasted his way to the 100m title on home soil in the 100th Welsh Athletics Championships held at Leckwith’s International Sports Stadium.
Gordon posted the sixth fastest time in Welsh sprinting history as he claimed a personal best time of 10.32 to overcame 2016 champion and Cardiff AAC clubmate Anax Da Silva.
Gordon’s performance was just one of a number of highlights in an action packed event.
In the 200m Thomas Williams, another Cardiff AAC sprinter, won his final in a blistering time of 20.97 to become the first Welshman to dip under 21 seconds since former Wales and Great Britain star Christian Malcolm in 2012.
There were also impressive sprint performances from the ladies with Mica Moore, of Birchfield Harriers taking the 100m title in a personal best of 11.69, from clubmate Melissa Roberts, while Cardiff AAC’s Hannah Thomas took the 200m title in 24.67.
There was a notable double in the hurdles where Swansea Harrier Caryl Granville took the 100m title in 13.91 and the 400m in 58.79.
In a high-quality men’s flat 400m, North Wales athlete Owen Smith, who runs for Cardiff AAC, overcame last year’s champion Joe Brier, of Swansea Harriers, to win in a personal best time of 47.41. Indeed, the top four finishers all posted PBs.
Over the longer distances Swansea Harrier Cari Hughes was impressive in the 1500m beating former double 800m champion Jade Williams, of Amman Valley Harriers in the process.
In the men’s 1500, which was won by Cardiff AAC’s Rowan Axe, six athletes ran 3 mins 50 secs or faster.
There was a hugely dominant display from Swansea Harrier Dewi Griffiths, who led from the front virtually from the gun as he clocked a personal best time of 13.50 in the men’s 5000m – finishing over a minute ahead of second placed James Hunt of Cardiff AAC.
His success, and many other performances during the Championships, was made all the more impressive as it was achieved in the face of blustery winds.
The conditions also played a part in the field events, which saw Great Britain athlete Brett Morse, of Cardiff AAC, take the men’s discus title with a mark of 59.76.
Liverpool Harrier Osian Jones launched a season’s best effort of 66.90 in the hammer to regain his title from 2015 with a throw of 66.90.
Paralympic, European and World Champion Aled Davies of the Disability Sport Wales Academy threw 52.52 to win his F42 category in the discus.
Swansea Harrier Sian Swanson had a successful day in the sand pit winning the triple jump with a personal best leap of 12.08, and finishing second to Rebecca Chapman, of Cardiff AAC, who recorded a winning distance of 6.31 in the long jump.
The men’s long jump was won by Cardiff’s Simeon Clarence, who registered a personal best distance of 7.06m.
Away from the competition on the track, there was a parade of past champions to celebrate the 100th staging of the championships.
Leading the way was Wales’ only Olympic champion Lynn Davies, who famously won the long jump title in Tokyo back in 1964.
Davies was joined by dozens of other Welsh greats including former marathon world record holder Steve Jones, Olympic medallist Jamie Baulch, Commonwealth Games medallists Berwyn Price and Shaun Pickering, and the most decorated Welsh champion of all time Venissa Head, who amassed a remarkable 25 national titles in the discus and shot putt.
The full list of results from the event which also featured a selection of children’s and masters events, can be found on the Welsh Athletics website.