Dai Greene's 400m hurdles win in Birmingham booked his World Cup call-up. Pic: Owen Morgan

Greene Turns Back Clock To Regain British Title

Dai Greene and Melissa Courtney were among the Welsh athletes who booked their ticket to the European Championships on the second day of the British Championships in Birmingham. Owen Morgan was there for Dai Sport.

Former 400m hurdle world champion Dai Greene turned back the clock following a series of injuries to claim his first British title in four years at Birmingham’s Alexander Stadium.

The Swansea Harrier produced a brilliant performance to surge to a hugely popular win in 50.06 seconds ahead of Jack Green and Seb Rodger.

The Llanelli man’s fifth British Championship gold medal also earned him a place in the Great Britain team for the European Championships in Berlin next month.

Greene, who warmed up for the final in a Wales Euro 2016 football shirt, said after the race: “I came here with the idea of winning.

“I made some errors at the end but I managed to hold off. I thought I’d be good in the first 300m and I’ve technically been poor in the final 100m but luckily so was everyone else.

“The aim was to get to Europeans. I haven’t raced much and I still feel a bit rusty. I don’t know if I have the ability to get onto the podium. It’s about grinding out the next five weeks and being British Champion today is even sweeter.

“I would have liked a faster time but it was about winning today. I’m looking forward to what the next few weeks bring.”

The win should also earn Greene the opportunity to compete at the inaugural Athletics World Cup in London, but he refused to be drawn on the prospect saying he would wait to receive his invitation first.

It was another great day for Welsh athletes as they matched the four-medal haul from the first day.

Race walker Bethan Davies made it a hat-trick of British Championship wins as she totally dominated the 5km final.

The Cardiff AC athlete, who broke the British record at the same event last year, led from the start lapping opponents at regular intervals. She finished almost four minutes ahead of the silver medal winning athlete Abigail Jennings.

A repeat of that record breaking performance was always going to be a tall order in the Birmingham sun especially following the hugely busy and successful year Davies has enjoyed.

Davies walked away with 5km title.

An appearance at last summer’s World Athletics Championships in London was followed up by a bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games in April and an appearance at the World Race Walking Team Championships in China in May.

The 27-year-old also secured her place at the European Championships by winning the British 20k title in Leeds last weekend.

Davies said after Sunday’s performance: “It was very hot today and this track is hot on a cool day so by the end it was like it was melting your shoes and I thought my feet were going to burn off.

“I’m very happy to have another British title and do what I did because I’ve been struggling with fatigue recently.

“It’s important for our event because our main discipline is 20km so it’s great to have this in the programme to show everyone what race walking is and how fast we can go.

“This is a good tuner for the Europeans and a good bit of fun. My confidence is picking up following the bronze in the Commonwealth Games.”

Young Swansea Harrier Megan Stratton-Thomas put in an excellent performance and produced a spirited sprint finish at the end, but was unfortunately disqualified by the judges. Guy Thomas of Tonbridge AC suffered a similar fate in the men’s race.

There was a strong Welsh contingent in the women’s 5000m final where the in-form trio of Melissa Courtney, Charlotte Arter and Jenny Nesbitt all featured prominently early on.

Indeed Cardiff AAC’s Arter had to pick herself up off the track after an early fall to bravely run herself back into contention and eventually finish fourth in a season’s best time of 16:12.07.

But it was Poole AC ‘s Courtney who managed to claim a silver medal and a place on the plane to Berlin, just failing to catch champion Steph Twell after a strong finish.

A delighted Courtney, who won a bronze medal for Wales at the Commonwealth Games said: “It’s the best I’ve done at a British Champs and never won a medal so this is really special. It was about coming in the top two and securing my spot for Berlin.

“After winning bronze in the Commonwealths it threw me as to whether I was doing 1500m or 5000m but I chose to prioritise 5000m and it looks a good choice.”

Welsh star Courtney after receiving her silver medal.

Nesbitt finished seventh in a season’s best time of 16:18.42

The fourth Welsh medal of the day came in the women’s javelin, where Bethan Rees claimed bronze with a throw of 48:30m in the final round.

The Cannock and Stafford athlete said afterwards: “It’s such an amazing experience. This is my first bronze at the British Championships because I came fourth last year. Now it’s about improving my personal best.”

Rees in discussions with her coach before claiming javelin bronze.

A number of other Welsh athlete’s were involved in track finals, including Cardiff’s Owen Smith who gave absolutely everything in finishing fourth in a high quality 400m won by Matthew Hudson Smith.

Cardiff AAC’s Ffion Price finished eighth in the 1500m final, while Beth Kidger, of Brighton Phoenix was 12th.

In the 200 metres, Cardiff AAC’s Kristian Jones was desperately unlucky not to make the final after finishing second in his heat to Nethaneel Mitchell Blake, who went on to win gold in a championship record. Jones ran a personal best of 21.04.

There were more Welsh personal bests in the 200m heats as Swansea Harrier Lemarl Freckleton clocked 21.48 and Amy Odunaiya, of Wrexham AC registered 24.40.

In the field events Sarah Abrahams of Blackheath and Bromley leapt to a personal best of 6.31ms as she finished sixth in the long jump.

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