Cardiff's Bethan Davies celebrates after winning her sixth British Champs race walk title in Manchester. Pic: Barrington Coombs: British Athletics via Getty Images

Bethan Davies Hits Her Rivals For Six At She Leads Welsh Medal Haul In Manchester

By Owen Morgan

Bethan Davies claimed a sixth British outdoor 5,000m race walk title on a successful day for Welsh athletes in Manchester on Sunday afternoon.

The Cardiff athlete was one of the most comprehensive winners on the third and final day of the Muller British Athletics Championships and British Olympic trials in Manchester.

Davies lapped every one of her opponents as she claimed gold in a time of 22:47.85 – almost three minutes ahead of her nearest rival.

The 2018 Commonwealth Games bronze medallist said afterwards: “I am really happy as it is a good step forward from last year and I haven’t raced over 5k for a while, so it was good to do something speedier and get some speed back.

Bethan Davies was in class of her won in Manchester. Pic: Barrington Coombs: British Athletics via Getty Images

“I wanted to test my technique over a shorter distance. I have struggled over the last two years, so a positive season and racing. I’m enjoying it and hopefully get better this year.

“I need to peak in 2022 as there is World Race Walk champs as well as Commonwealths.”

Sunday’s race wasn’t part of the weekend’s Olympic trials as the distance being raced in Tokyo next month will be 20k. Davies finished second in the 20k Olympic trials earlier this year, but has not achieved the qualifying standard.

It was a good day for Welsh race walking as Guy Thomas claimed bronze in the men’s 5,000m event.

The Tonbridge athlete claimed a new personal best of 21:31.16 as he finished third behind Tom Bosworth and Cameron Corbishley.

Adele Nicoll in action as she took bronze in Manchester. Pic: Barrington Coombs: British Athletics via Getty Images

In the field events, Winter Olympic bobsleigh hopeful Adele Nicoll earned a thrilling bronze medal in the shot put.

A second round effort of 16.17m had put Nicoll comfortably into the bronze medal position, only to see Blackheath’s Divine Oladipo throw just one centimetre further in the next round.

But the Welsh champion hit back in the fifth round to register 16.20m and edge ahead of Oladipo once more to claim a much deserved medal behind Tokyo Olympics-bound Sophie McKinna and Amelia Strickler.

Nicoll has Olympic ambitions of her own – at the Beijing Winter Olympics in the bobsleigh – as well as Birmingham Commonwealth Games hopes for Wales in the shot put.

In the same competition, Tokyo Paralympics-bound Sabrina Fortune, of Deeside, celebrated her call up to the Great Britain team by claiming a new personal best of 14.05m – just 5 cm short of the F20 women’s shot put world record.

Sabrina Fortune set a personal best as she continued preparations for Tokyo Paralympics. Pic: Owen Morgan

Fortune said afterwards: “It feels so nice to have done that here. I have been chasing that PB for nearly two years so to get just 5cm short of the world record is so amazing.

“I felt in good shape. I have hit 14 lots in training so to do it in competition is great. I want a world record and I want a gold medal but I also want more PBs. It is going to be crazy going to Japan and competing for my country again.”

The women’s 5,000m saw a bronze medal for former Swansea University student and Swansea Harrier Verity Ockenden.

The first Welsh athlete home was Cardiff’s Charlotte Arter, who celebrated a brilliant new personal best of 15:34.64 in fourth – just outside the Commonwealth Games qualifying standard of 15:30.00.

Fifth place went to another Cardiff athlete Jenny Nesbitt in 15:40.92 with fellow Welsh internationals Beth Kidger sixth in 15:54.09 and Clara Evans ninth in 16:24.88.

Charlotte Arter set a new PB and was close to Commonwealth Games qualifying time for the 5,000m to finish fourth.

Welsh record holder Osian Jones just missed out on a medal in the hammer as he finished fourth with a season’s best throw of 70.07m, which gave him another Commonwealth Games qualifying standard.

Swansea Harrier Jonathan Hopkins was sixth in the men’s 3,000m steeplechase in 8:48.54, while Cardiff’s Rebecca Chapman finished seventh in the women’s long jump with a best of 6.09m. Paralympian Olivia Breen was 11th with 4:57.

Paralympic javelin champion, multiple world champion and Commonwealth Games gold medallist Hollie Arnold finished 10th in the women’s javelin final with 37.61m.

Wrexham’s Thomas Walley, who has enjoyed a successful season, finished ninth in the men’s pole vault with a height of 4.85m.

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