Piers Copeland

Silver medalist, Callum Elson (L), Bronze medalist, Adam Fogg (C), and Gold medalist, Piers Copeland . Pic: British Athletics via Getty Images

Wales 1500m Man Piers Copeland Take Stunning UK Title

sportswales

By Owen Morgan

Piers Copeland produced the most spectacular finish of the day to snatch a brilliant gold medal in the 1500m at the Microplus UK Athletics Indoor Championships on Sunday.

The Pontypridd Roadents AC man was tucked in behind Callum Elson, of Cambridge and Coleridge AC, and Adam Fogg, of Coventry Godiva AC, for the majority of the race.

As the trio rounded the final bend at a packed Utilita Arena in Birmingham, bronze appeared to be the best the Welshman could hope for.

But as Elson and Fogg seemingly battled for gold down the home straight, a gap opened up in the inside lane.

Copeland didn’t need a second invitation. The 25-year-old surged through on the rail to leave Elson and Fogg floundering in his wake.

The Commonwealth Games athlete glided over the line with his finger to his lips in celebration as his both his rivals stumbled onto the track unable to match his turbo charged finish.

After the race, Copeland said: “I had a few race plans depending how the race went and it went off slowly, so I just wanted to stay with it, but out of trouble.

“You can really lose the race if you go too early but, if you’re patient, you can win it.”

There were further Welsh medals on the track and in the field on the second day of the championships.

Gracie Griffiths Gracie Griffiths won silver in the 3,000m walk.

The women’s 3,000m race walk saw the top four athletes all clock personal best, including Gracie Griffiths.

The Pembrokeshire athlete clocked a new indoor best time of 14:12.62 as she finished second to reigning champion Abigail Jennings, of Aldershot Farnham and District, who stopped the clock in 14:09.22.

The silver medal was an upgrade on the bronze 17-year-old Griffiths won at these championships last February.

Patrick Swan Patrick Swan claimed silver in the shot put.

Another Welsh athlete to swap bronze last year for silver this time around was shot putter Patrick Swan.

The Cornwall AC man also gained a new PB – going over 18m for the first time in his career.

Swan had been performing consistently throughout the competition, registering a best of 17.79m in the second round.

But in his final throw of the afternoon, he produced a mammoth effort of 18.33m to smash his personal best and claim silver behind Scott Lincoln, of City of York AC, who won gold with a best of 20.08m.

Jenny Nesbitt Jenny Nesbitt (left) finished fourth in the 3,000m final.

Another Pontypridd Roadent, Jenny Nesbitt, narrowly missed out on a medal in the women’s 3,000m where she finished fourth, clocking 9:09.07 in a race won by Laura Muir in 8:58.80.

In the women’s 200m heats, Cardiff AC’s Hannah Longen progressed by finishing second in her heat in a season’s best time of 23.91.

And she bettered her time in the semi-finals as she clocked 23.69 to finish third and book her place in the final, where she finished a creditable fifth in 24.22. Ama Pipi won gold in 23.29.

In a high quality 400m final, Swansea Harrier Hannah Brier also finished fifth in 53.57 behind Laviai Nielson who won gold in 51.54.

Cardiff Athletics Cari Hughes finished sixth in 4:18.09 in the women’s 1500m final which was won by Georgia Bell in 4:09.66.

Deeside AC para athlete Sabrina Fortune warmed up for what promises to be a busy championship summer by finishing 8th in the women’s shot put final – one place ahead of World Heptathlon Champion Katrina Johnson Thompson – with a best of 13.66m.

Hannah Tapley, of Cardiff Athletics, was 9th in the women’s high jump with a best height of 1.74m, while the final of the men’s 3,000m saw clubmate Ben Reynolds claim a new personal best of 8:04.32 to finish in 13th place.

Full results can be found on the British Athletics website.

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