Team captain Rhys Williams (coach: Dan Pfaff) spearheaded Team Wales’s performances at the Loughborough International by demolishing all opposition in the first track event of the match as he set a new season best in a time of 50.24s – beating rival Nathan Woodward in the process.
The Cardiff AAC athlete fought the headwind on the home straight and won over a competitive field. “I don’t really care about the time, I wanted to get one over my rival and get this run out of my system. There is only one day I am focussing on and that’s the trials: I want to get in the Olympic team – as they say, you have to be in it to win it.”
Williams’s result was one of the highlights of a competition that saw some spirited performances across both track and field. Welsh athletes recorded three further wins, courtesy of Gareth Warburton (Darrell Maynard) in the 800m (1.46.57, SB); Adam Bitchell (James Thie) in the 3000m (8:08.63, PB); and Sally Peake (Scott Simpson) in the pole vault (4.20, SB).
“I am pleased with the time, I ran 47 flat in my last race and I was looking to show improvement race by race” said Warburton after crossing the line in what was mostly a solo effort, such was the gap he inflicted to the rest of the field; “I need to get into better races, I aim to get half a second off in the next one and that’d mean I am moving in the right direction.”
Bitchell’s effort was made even more impressive by the conditions he had to race in. “I raced last night in Manchester and didn’t make it to Loughborough until 11 last night, I was feeling terrible” the Cardiff athlete said, despite his sterling performance. “I let others do all the work at the start of the race and got an easy ride; I kicked in at the end and managed to get three seconds off my PB so I am really, really happy.”
There were also PB’s for Ieuan Thomas (James Thie) in the 3000m SC (9:11:02) and Rhiannon Jeffreys in the guest women’s 100m and 200m (12.60 and 25.67).
Three athletes recorded new seasonal best performances: Ryan Spencer-Jones was 3rd in the shot put with 17.65m, Brett Morse (Veistenn Hafsteinsson) was 3rd in the discus with 59.12m, and women’s Team Captain Carys Parry (Lorraine Shaw) was 3rd in the hammer with 64.67m.
National Coach Scott Simpson was ready to highlight the positives in the team’s performance, but also stressed how constant improvement is required for Wales: “There were some excellent results today, but the expectations of the team, and mine too, are high so we need to constantly strive for more.”
“We have very ambitious targets for the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow: we cannot sit and rest on our laurels, we need to work hard and demand more if we are to fulfil them.”
“I was delighted with Rhys’s performance as Team Captain, he opened the day in great fashion. Adele Nicoll came into the team as a 15 year old and is a prospect I am extremely excited by and Carys threw really well. There were definitely some performances from both our seniors and some of the youngsters to be happy about.”