Melissa Courtney-Bryant

Team Wales and GB star Melissa Courtney-Bryant. Pic: Getty Images

Melissa Courtney-Bryant Moves Close To Welsh Record After Win In France

Melissa Courtney-Bryant overtook the great Kirsty Wade to move into second place on the Welsh all-time 1500 mete rankings as she clocked a lifetime best of 4 min, 00.45 sec in winning at the Stanislas Meeting in Nancy, France on Sunday.

The 29-year-old cracked the qualifying mark for the British squad for the World Championships this summer for a second time this month.

As she moved ahead of Wade’s former Welsh record of 4.00.73 set back in 1987, Courtney-Bryant edged ever closer to Hayley Tullett’s current record mark of 3.59.95 set at the World Championships in Paris 20 years ago.

Having clocked 4.02. 81 in Hengelo on June 5, one second off her personal best of 4.01.81 set in Stockholm in 2020, the 2018 Commonwealth Games bronze medalist led home fellow Brit Jemma Reekie, who clocked a season’s best 4.01.40 in third.

“Now number 2 all time in Wales. Time to chase that sub-4 and the Welsh Record,” tweeted Courtney-Bryant after her race.

The World Championship qualifying mark this year is 4.03.50 and the Poole AC athlete now ranks third in the 2023 British rankings behind Laura Muir (3.57.09) and Katie Snowden (4.00.40).

Reekie is fourth and the only other athlete to crack the qualifying mark to date.

Courtney-Bryant has already been to the World Championships once, when she failed to get out of her heat in Eugene, Oregon, last year (4.09.07), and will now most likely face a shoot-out at the British Championships for her ticket to the event in Budapest between August 18-27.

Meanwhile, at the England U23 Championships in Chelmsford, Cardiff’s Jeremiah Azu clocked a season’s best time of 10.16 sec to win the title.

The U20 champion in 2019, he won the senior AAA 100 metre crown last summer before going on to strike bronze at the European Championships.

Having won his heat in 10.57 sec and his semi-final in 10.44 sec, the Welshmen went within 3/100ths of a second of his legal best time of 10.13 sec to claim the title ahead of David Morgan-Harrison, who struck silver in 10.34 sec.

Azu still needs to go faster than ever before to reach the World Championships qualifying mark of 10.00 sec.

He is the only Welsh athlete to have broken the magical 10 second barrier before, clocking wind-assisted times of 9.94 and 9.90 sec to win the British title in Birmingham last year.

As with Courtney-Bryant, he will have the Welsh record very much in his sights this summer, although with the honour of becoming the first Welsh athlete to notch a legal time of sub-10 seconds.

Christian Malcolm still holds the Welsh record at 10.11 sec set at the 2001 World Championships in Edmonton, Canada.

Azu’s next chance to shine will come at the European Team Championships this weekend in Silesia, Poland, when he runs in the 100 metres for Great Britain.

That means he will mis the chance to run at the Welsh Championships, although he will be in the thick of the action at the UK Championships in Manchester on July 7-8.

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