Adele Nicholl And Bethan Davies Produce Golden Double . . . As Welsh Athletics Roars In UK Athletics Championship

Adele Nicoll with fellow medal winners Sophie McKinna and Divine Odalipo.

Adele Nicholl And Bethan Davies Produce Golden Double . . . As Welsh Athletics Roars In UK Athletics Championship

By Owen Morgan

Adele Nicoll and Bethan Davies delivered a golden double at the Muller UK Athletics Championship in Manchester on Sunday morning.

At the same time as Nicoll was claiming shot put gold with a massive new personal best in the field, Davies was marching to a dramatic win on the track in the 5k race walk.

Both events exploded into life after their respective half way marks as Nicoll launched a huge winning throw and a disqualification turned the race walk on its head.

In the shot put circle, Nicoll stepped up for her fourth round throw in third position behind Sophie McKinna and Amelia Strickler.

But Nicoll literally produced the throw of her life to register a huge 17.59m – shattering her previous personal best of 17.17m.

The Birchfield Harrier instantly knew it was a big distance and let out a roar of delight before celebrating the effort with McKinna, who had been leading thanks to her first round opener of 17.49.

It was a lead the Welshpool athlete would keep until the end of the competition to bring a first senior British title.

Commenting on her victory, Nicoll, who represented Great Britain at the Beijing Winter Olympics earlier this year, said: “This has been such a long time coming for me, I have worked so hard for this over the years.

“I have never taken gold at British senior championships, so this moment marks the start of my senior career.

“I started the first three rounds not where I wanted to be but I was slowly building in each throw which was pleasing to see.”

Nicoll now turns her attention to representing Wales at this summer’s Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

“I couldn’t be happier and it means I’m in such a great position going into the Commonwealth Games,” she said.

“Being at a home games, the atmosphere is going to be incredible especially as I’m a Birchfield Harrier and it’s in Birmingham so I’m representing my club as well.

Adele Nicoll celebrates with Sophie McKinna after setting a new personal best.

“I will be spending the next month or so in Cardiff with my coach until we go into holding camp.”

Meanwhile, the action was hotting up on the track involving Davies and Pembrokeshire Harriers Duo Heather Lewis and Gracie Griffiths.

Lewis had opened up a commanding lead over Davies before she was forced to spend a 30 second penalty in the ‘sin-bin’, allowing the Cardiff athlete to take over the lead.

As the Pembrokeshire Harrier tried to chase down her Welsh Commonwealth Games team mate, she again attracted the attention of the officials and was disqualified in a repeat of the 2020 British Championships when she again lost out Davies.

Despite her disappointment, Lewis stayed trackside to cheer on the remaining athletes as Davies went on to claim her seventh British title in a time of 22.30.59.

Bethan Davies and Gracie Griffiths celebrating their gold and silver medals with third placed Abigail Jennings.

In what would have been a Welsh clean-sweep but for Lewis’ disqualification, Griffiths claimed the silver medal in a new personal best time of 25:18.40.

A delighted Davies said afterwards: “I was really happy with how it went today.

“It was good to do a 5k speed test and get into the track mindset for the Commonwealth Games as that is on the track this time. It was about going out quick and then trying to hold my form.

“I am focussing on 10k for that and then 35k for the Europeans. Today was about finding my speed on the shorter distance and getting used to the track again.

“I like to get into my rhythm on the track – there are judges more often but it is a good test and I like not having the bumps of the road!”

Bethan Davies crosses the line to win th 5k race walk.

Two more of Wales’ Commonwealth Games competitors were in action in the men’s discus competition.

Disability Sport Wales Para Academy’s Harrison Walsh claimed a best throw of 54.78m, while multiple Paralympic and World Champion Aled Davies, of Cardiff Athletics, registered a best of 52.49m.

Kate Seary finished just outside of the medals in the 3,000m steeplechase run in blustery conditions. The Cardiff Athletics runner finished fourth in 10:06.31.

Back in the field, Amber Simpson finished eighth in the hammer final with a best of 60.97m, while the women’s high jump saw Cardiff’s Hannah Tapley finish sixth after achieving a height of 1.71m.

Full results can be found on the Welsh Athletics website.

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