By Owen Morgan
A thrilling first day of action at the British Athletics Indoor Championships in Glasgow saw Welsh athletes claim four medals with the promise of more to come on Sunday.
Cardiff’s Sam Gordon led the way for Wales with a silver medal in a closely fought men’s 60m final.
Gordon started the day well by winning his heat in a time of 6.82, before clinching his place in the final by finishing second to Adam Thomas in 6.80 in his semi.
The final saw Sale’s Andrew Robertson take gold in 6.66, just ahead of the Welshman who clocked 6.70 to claim silver.
Despite earning a medal, Gordon wasn’t entirely happy with this performance, but is now looking forward to chasing the Tokyo Olympics qualifying standard during the outdoor season.
“I don’t want to sound down, but I know I should have done better,” said Gordon.
“The form I was in was good, but credit to Andy he performed when it mattered. The start didn’t come to fruition but something special can come from me.
“I’ll be off to America for a training camp now and then go in search of the Olympic standard.”
The second Welsh medal of the day came in the field where Blackheath’s Sarah Abrams claimed bronze in the long jump.
The recently crowned Welsh indoor champion jumped 6.40m with both her second and sixth attempts to finish third behind Abigal Irozuru, who claimed gold with a season’s best of 6.60m and Jazmin Sawyers, who won silver with 6.44.
Abrams, who also returned three no jumps, said afterwards: “I think I could have jumped further but it’s my first medal at a major championship so I’m chuffed.
“Everyone has no-jumps but some of those were big, I wasn’t consistent on the run-ups and that’s let me down.
“I wasted a few jumps but that’s the way it is. Indoors I’ve been really consistent but hopefully there’s one big jump to come soon.”
There was further Welsh success in the field in the shape of a bronze medal in the shot put for Patrick Swan.
The Cornwall athlete produced a season’s best throw of 16.49m to finish third behind champion Scott Lincoln, who registered 19.49m
Swan revealed afterwards he had won his medal on the back of a marathon car journey.
” I’m happy I travelled so far to get a medal for the first time in a major championships, it made the 12-hour drive worth it.
“I never normally do well off the back of a large drive but I’ve surprised myself, I felt hungry for it and got what I wanted.
“I feel like I’ve matured more in athletics and I feel I’m understanding I need to step my game up to compete with these boys. Training has been good but in competition I need to find that extra gear.”
There was a strong Welsh presence in the men’s 3,000m final which featured Commonwealth Games steeplechase duo Ieuan Thomas, of Cardiff Athletics and Swansea Harrier Jonny Hopkins.
But it was Cardiff’s Mike Ward, who got amongst the medals by claiming bronze in a season’s best time of 8:10.31 behind champion Jonathan Davies, of Reading, who won gold in 8:07.96.
Ward, who returned to Wales last year after studying in America, was happy to put his good training form into practice at the championships.
“The training’s been there the whole time, I just haven’t really been executing, so it’s nice to finally do that, yeah I’m happy.
“About four laps out I realised, they were getting away, but not too far. I thought I need to stay in the zone a little bit, and hopefully with 400m to go I can put the burners on and see if I can take a spot.
“Then it came to that last lap, I saw the little wobble, I thought I just kind of need to go here, and I knew I could do it.
“I’m now taking a bit of down time, and then using March to build back up and get back to basics and training, and then head out to the USA to do some training and hopefully come back to outdoors, get some new PBs and see what I can do at the trials.”
There were a number of other excellent Welsh performances on the day with Birchfield Harrier Mica Moore narrowly missing out on a medal in the 60m when she finished fourth in 7.63.
Swansea Harrier Joe Brier booked his place in Sunday’s 400m final with two season’s best performances. He clocked 47.81 to win his heat and then 47.70 to finish second in his semi-final.
Meanwhile, Cardiff Athletics’ James Heneghan qualified for Sunday’s 1500m final by clocking 3:51.21, while Beth Kidger, of Brighton Phoenix in 4:33.00 and Cardiff Athletics’ Kate Seary, in a season’s best 4:34.53, both qualified for the women’s final.
There will be a number of other Welsh medal hopes on Sunday, with the likes of British outdoor champion Beth Davies going in the 5,000m walk final, Melissa Courtney-Bryant and Jenny Nesbitt lining up in the 3,000m final, and in-form Adele Nicoll contesting the shot put final.
You can follow live coverage of Sunday’s action on the BBC through Connected TV and online.