By Owen Morgan
Wales’ steeplechase duo Johnny Hopkins and Ieuan Thomas both clocked European Athletics Championship qualifying times in Holland at the weekend.
Thomas, who has already competed at the World Championships and Commonwealth Games over the past 12 months, finished second in the Gouden Spike 3,000m in a new personal best of 8:30.16.
Swansea Harrier Hopkins, who also competed at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, finished just behind Thomas in third, registering a time of 8:31.98.
In a closely fought race, the two Welshmen were just pipped to the win by Norway’s Tom Erling Karbo.
Hopkins and Thomas, who finished sixth and seventh respectively at the Commonwealth Games, will now concentrate on winning automatic qualification to the Great Britain team at August’s European Championships in Berlin.
A top two place in the 3000m steeplechase at the British Athletics Championships in Birmingham on June 30 and July 31, will secure a place on the plane to Germany.
Also at the Gouden Spike meet, Cardiff AAC’s Kristian Jones clocked a personal best of 21.15 as he finished fifth in the 200m.
Colwyn Bay’s Under-20 athlete Michael Parry finished fourth in the men’s 800m in a time of 1:52.64.
There was also a healthy contingent of Welsh athletes competing at the Atletica Geneve meeting on Switzerland on Saturday.
One of the highlights of the meet was Cardiff AAC junior James Vincent finishing fifth in the men’s 1,500m in a new personal best time of 3:53:01. In the same race Swansea Harrier Jon Tobin finished third in 3:52.55.
There were also good performances in the men’s and women’s 100m where Cardiff AAC’s Sam Gordon finished 5th in 10.56 seconds, and Birchfield Harrier Mica Moore clocked 11.90 seconds as she finished fourth in her race.
The 400 metres saw Cardiff AC’s Owen Smith and Swansea Harrier Laura Maddox both finish sixth in their races. Smith ran 46.72 and Maddox stopped the clock in 54.29.
In the field events, Swansea Harrier Emily Thomas leapt to 5.63m in the long jump, and Deeside’s Amber Simpson finished fifth in the hammer with 55.93m.
Closer to home there was a season’s best performance of 6.36m by Commonwealth Games long jumper Rebecca Chapman in the Welsh Athletics League Fixture in Swansea.
However, Chapman’s individual win wasn’t enough to stop Swansea Harriers winning the fixture and strengthening their overall lead in the league.