European Qualification A Walk In The Park For Davies And Lewis

Bethan Davies will also be competing at Kew Gardens. Pic: Owen Morgan.

European Qualification A Walk In The Park For Davies And Lewis

By Owen Morgan

It was a wonderful day for a walk in the park if you were Welsh and in Leeds on Sunday.

Race walkers Bethan Davies and Heather Lewis secured their places at the European Athletics Championships by taking first and second spot at the British Grand Prix of Walking at Rounday Park.

As well as winning the Grand Prix event, Davies’ first place also brought her the British and Welsh 20k titles, which were incorporated into the event.

Lewis’ second place means she will be joining her Wales Commonwealth Games team-mate on the plane once again for the trip to Berlin for August’s European Championships.

This will be Davies’ third major competition in the space of a year, having competed at the World Athletics Championship last summer and on the Gold Coast in April. She also took part in the World Race Walking Team Championships earlier this year.

Before this weekend’s event she admitted the Commonwealths, where she won bronze for Wales, and team championships had been tiring both mentally and physically.

However, her recovery work and training obviously paid off at the weekend as she started at a good pace and established an early lead going through the 5km mark in 23:30. Lewis clocking 23:56 at the same point.

Davies continued to gradually open up her lead over her Welsh team-mate for the remainder of the race and she eventually crossed the line in 96:55.

By finishing second in the Grand Prix race, Lewis also took silver in the British and Welsh Championship races in a time of 96:55, ahead of Erica Kelly, who was third overall in 101:30.

After the race, Davies who last won the British Championship gold in 2016, said: “I’m happy to have finished in a decent time and secured a place for the European Championships this summer.”

The men’s race was won by England’s Commonwealth Games silver medallist Tom Bosworth. The victory secured him his place in Berlin alongside second placed Brit Callum Wilkinson.

It’s the first time in 28 years that four British walkers have qualified for the European Championships.

The third placed British walker home in the men’s race was Wales’ Guy Thomas. The Tonbridge AC athlete’s time of 89:32 secured him bronze in the British Championship and the Welsh title.



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