By Owen Morgan
Piers Copeland clocked a big new personal best and Olympic 1500m qualifying time in France on Wednesday night.
The Cardiff-based middle distance star clocked 3:34.62 finishing sixth in a high class field at the Meeting De Marseille World Athletics Continental Tour Bronze Level event.
The time smashed Copeland’s previous best of 3:35.32 set in the Doha Wanda Diamond League meeting last year and dipped under the qualifying mark of 3:35.00.
Significant run tonight from @ElliotLeviGiles who moves right into the 1500m picture with an Olympic qualifier of 3:33.80! Following moderate previous efforts this last ten days @PiersCopeland1 greatly improves to 3:34.62– new Olympic qualifier with @jakeheyward7 0.01 behind!!
— Ian Hodge (@IanHodge7) June 9, 2021
In France, Copeland finished just 0.01 second ahead of fellow Cardiff athlete, former training group partner and new Welsh record holder Jake Heyward in seventh place.
Heyward, now based in America with the Oregon Track Elite Club, claimed his second Olympic qualifying time having himself run a new PB of 3:33.99 in America at the end of May.
The performance in Portland also broke Neil Horsfield’s 31-year-old Welsh 1500m record. Copeland’s time on Wednesday puts him second in the Welsh rankings above Horsfield.
The two Welsh athletes are now ranked fourth and fifth in the hugely competitive United Kingdom 1500m rankings this year.
With Elliot Giles finishing second in Marseille in a new PB of 3:33.80, a clutch of British middle distance stars are running into form at exactly the right time.
This coming just over two weeks before the Muller British Athletics Championships in Manchester, which will double up as the GB Olympic trials.
Fellow Welsh athletes Remi Adebiyi, James Heneghan, Guy Smith and Mike Ward are also due to line for the 1500m heats up at the Manchester Regional Arena on June 25
Heyward and Copeland’s record breaking form also bodes well for next year’s Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.