Cream Of Welsh Athletics Heading To Manchester As Coveted Olympic Spots Up For Grabs

Osian Perrin is in for a busy few weeks.

Cream Of Welsh Athletics Heading To Manchester As Coveted Olympic Spots Up For Grabs

By Owen Morgan

More than 50 Welsh athletes travel to Manchester this weekend to take part in the Muller British Athletics Championships and Great Britain Olympic trials.

This year’s championships promises to be one of the most keenly contested in recent history with a number genuine world class athletes bidding for places on the plane to Tokyo next month.

The Welsh charge will be led by a mixture of experience and emerging youth including the likes of 2011 World 400m hurdles champion Dai Greene and rising endurance star Osian Perrin, this week named in the first wave of athletes selected to represent Great Britain at the European Athletics Under-20 Championships.

On Friday, Perrin lines-up for the 3,000m where he will be looking to tune up for July’s championships in Estonia.

Dai Greene, one of Wales’s most successful athletes, chasing an Olympic swansong. Pic: Getty Images.

He will be joined on the start line by two more promising young Welsh endurance athletes in the shape of Carmarthen Harriers duo Frank Morgan and Dafydd Jones

For Greene, the championships will be his big chance to qualify for a second Olympics having finished fourth at the 2012 London games in both the 400m hurdles and 4x400m relay.

The Swansea Harrier’s career has been dogged by illness and injuries since then, robbing him of a place at a series of major championships including the Rio Olympics and the 2018 Commonwealth Games on Australia’s Gold Coast.

This season has also been a frustration for the man who won Commonwealth Games gold for Wales in 2010 with Covid restrictions limiting his opportunities for high level competition.

Lining up in the women’s 400m hurdles will be another Commonwealth Games athlete who has been hampered by serious injury and illness.

Less than a year ago, fellow Swansea Harrier Caryl Granville didn’t know whether she would compete again after suffering several deep vein thrombosis in her leg.

Caryl Granville has battled back from career-threading illness. Pics: Owen Morgan

On Friday evening she will line up for her heats hoping the high level competition will help her achieve a qualifying standard for next year’s Birmingham Commonwealth Games.

Joining her will be Cardiff’s Lauren Williams, who last weekend won a bronze medal at the English Athletics Under-23 Championships in Bedford.

At the same championships, James Tomlinson won gold in the discus, and the Pembrokeshire athlete will be hoping to repeat that kind of form in Manchester.

Another of Wales’ throwers who will be hoping to replicate her Bedford form will be Neath Harrier Bethany Moule, who won a silver in the Under-23 javelin. Also competing will be Hollie Arnold, who was this week selected for the Tokyo Paralympics.

At the under-20 and under-23 championships in Bedford, sprinter Jeremiah Azu won under-23 silver in the 100m and he will be part of a battery of Welsh sprinters descending on Manchester on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

James Tomlinson will be looking to repeat his form in Bedford. Pic: Owen Morgan

Azu, who has run a wind assisted 10.30 this season, will be joined in the 100m by Daniel Beadsley, Joshua Brown, Sam Gordon Dewi Hammond, Kristian Jones and Arron Owen.

All have run under 10.7 seconds this season, with Gordon having clocked a new personal best of 10.25. Olympic relay spots could well be up for grabs.

The women’s 100m will feature Commonwealth Games athlete Mica Moore, along with Shannon Malone, Melissa Roberts and Caitlyn Mapps, who was recently added to the British Athletics Futures Relay Programme.
Malone and Mapps also go in the 200m, alongside Swansea Harrier Hannah Brier.

Brier’s brother Joe, will be joined by Owen Smith in the men’s 400m. Having represented Great Britain indoors earlier in the season, both will be looking for good performances with one eye on the GB Olympic 4×400 relay team.

There will also be strong Welsh contingents over the longer distances, particularly the women’s 5,000m.

Welsh sprinters Shannon Malone and Hannah Brier will be in action in Manchester.

Leading the way will be Emily Kearney, who clocked a new PB of 15.39.65 in America in March and Cardiff’s Jenny Nesbitt, who is ranked one place below Kearney as the eighth fastest Brit over the distance this year.

They will be joined by Beth Kidger, of Brighton Phoenix, and Cardiff Athletics duo Clara Evans and Charlotte Arter.

One of the most intriguing Welsh encounters will take place in the women’s 3,000m steeplechase.

The race features Cardiff’s Kate Seary, who set a new Welsh 3,000m steeplechase record on her debut over the distance on May 29, and Parc Bryn Bach’s Lauren Cooper, who broke Seary’s new record less than a fortnight later on June 9! Will the record go again in Manchester?

There will be a strong Welsh medal hope in the women’s 5,000m walk, where serial gold medallist Bethan Davies will be looking to lift the title once again, especially after returning to winning form over 10,000m in Bedford last weekend

In the field events, there will be an array of Welsh talent in the men’s shot put, including Great Britain stars Kyron Duke and Aled Davies, fresh from medal winning performances at the European Para Athletics Championships in Poland.

Also due to compete are Daniel Cork, Patrick Swan and previous British Championships bronze medallist Gareth Winter.

The women’s shot will feature Paralympics-bound Sabrina Fortune and in-form Adele Nicoll, who produced a big PB earlier this season despite her involvement with the GB bobsleigh squad.

Another throwing event carrying high Welsh hopes will be the hammer where Osian Jones and Jac Palmer are both ranked in the men’s UK top 10 this summer while Deeside’s Amber Simpson is ranked sixth in the women’s event.

Elsewhere in the field events, in-form Thomas Walley will go in the pole vault, where he has improved his outdoor personal best this season from 4.66m to a hugely impressive 5.10m.

You can find the full start lists featuring all the Welsh competitors on the British Athletics website, where the timetable is also available.

Despite being one of most eagerly anticipated championships in recent years, this year’s event is not being broadcast on television.

However, you can follow all the action live across the three days on the British Athletics website starting from 2.30pm on Friday.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.