Former Welsh champion and record holder Jon Stark has died.

17/05/2021 00:00, In History /

 

The Welsh athletics fraternity will be shocked to learn of the death of former Welsh 200m record holder Jon Stark who died aged 60 on May 8th.

Clive Williams remembers an outstanding Welsh sprinter.


He set the record of 21.33 at the Welsh Games in Cwmbran on 11th July 1980 behind Trinidadians Mike Paul and Andy Brown, with Decathlon superstar Daley Thompson 4th in a personal best of 21.45 just weeks ahead of his first Olympic triumph. Jon’s time clipped 3 hundreth’s off Dave Roberts’ mark set 2 years earlier.

I said in my Athletics Weekly report that the 19 year old gave rise to much needed optimism in Welsh men’s sprinting circles with his fine performance.

Barry-born Jon took both the Welsh 100 and 200 titles in 1980, and retained his 200 title the following year. However, Dave Roberts took the 5th of his 6 Welsh 100 titles in 1981 beating Jon into second place denying the Edinburgh based athlete a double sprint title for the second successive year. On hearing the news of Jon’s death, Dave said:

“I have fond memories of my on-track battles with Jon and I’m very sorry to hear the news.”

Jon attended Edinburgh University, where he qualified as a dentist. He then came to Chelmsford, for a year's vocational training where he met his wife Sarah, who is still an active member of Chelmsford AC. Jon competed for Chelmsford for a number of years until he retired in 1998 after snapping an achilles tendon.

Sarah said: “The most ironic thing is that the first Athletics Weekly I ever bought was at the age of 16 and Jon was on the front cover.” Sarah is still very much involved with Chelmsford AC, as a coach, official and a competitor in vets matches.

Daughter Rachael inherited her father’s sprinting genes by winning bronze medals in both the Welsh outdoor and indoor girls under 15 championships in 2009 and 2010 before changing sports to hockey.

Jon never forgot his Welsh roots and will be cremated in his Welsh vest and shorts with his retro tracksuit on top of his coffin.

The date of his funeral is Tuesday 1st June at 10.30. The service will be streamed live and a link wilI follow later for those who wish to see the service.

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