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Funeral Arrangements - Tony Clemo (1940-2019)

Wales v RAF ST. Athan 1962ish.jpg

18/06/2019 00:00, In Blog /

There will be a funeral service at Llandaff Cathedral on Monday, 15 July at 1.00pm followed by burial at Thornhill Cemetery

The athletics fraternity in Wales is sad to learn of the death after a short illness of former Welsh international athlete and coach Tony Clemo who died yesterday, Tuesday June 18th aged 78. 

Lynn Davies, the 1964 Olympic long jump champion and a close personal friend, said yesterday: “Welsh sport can be grateful that Tony, with his strong business sense and background chose to share that expertise with athletics and football.”

Lynn, along with another close friend, Welsh rugby legend J.J. Williams visited him just two days before his death. Said JJ, who ran in the 1970 Commonwealth Games: “Tony was one of my first coaches and I credit him with some of my early sprinting successes. “I’m glad that I saw him on Sunday – he was very pleased to see us.”

Tony was a PE student at Cardiff Training College (now Cardiff Met University) from 1961-64 where he met the future Olympic champion Davies who was in the same year. They both competed in the college team where Clemo was a highly competent 800m runner, gaining several Welsh vests with a personal best of 1:54.

He became a very good athletics coach and was the team coach to the Welsh athletics team at the 1974 Christchurch Commonwealth Games. He was first inspired as a coach by the then Welsh national coach, Jim Alford and later Ron Pickering when he succeeded Alford in 1961.

Lynn continues: “Tony and I spent a lot of time with Ron – me as athlete and Tony as coach.”

Clemo became secretary of the Welsh AAA coaching committee in the 1960s and coached a number of Welsh international athletes including the superstar of Welsh women’s sprinting in the early 1960s, Liz Johns.  Initially he was a member of Cardiff’s Birchgrove Harriers, where he won County titles and also finished third in the Welsh 440 yards hurdles championship. He was a keen supporter of European 400m hurdles champion Rhys Williams and was always on hand to give informal advice. He was a talented and knowledgeable public address announcer at athletics meetings and also acted as meeting director and organiser of international matches at Cwmbran Stadium, when the stadium was one of the main athletics arenas in the UK.

To the wider world though, his name will be forever linked to his ownership of Cardiff City. In 1980 he appointed another athletics friend, the sprint relay world record holder Ron Jones as Managing Director. At the time Jones held a similar role at QPR. He tried unsuccessfully to appoint John Toshack as manager before the Liverpool legend eventually went to Swansea City. As well as being a Cardiff City board member for many years, he was also a director of the Welsh FA.

Tony’s main business interest was as the owner of Cardiff travel agency Red Dragon Travel which emerged after he started taking schoolchildren away on skiing holidays whilst he was a school teacher in Cardiff.

In 1966, he chartered a plane to Kingston Jamaica which took over 100 Welsh supporters to the Games.  For a time he owned the Cardiff nightclub Tito’s. He was also a trustee of the Welsh Sports Aid Foundation, where Ron Jones is still the director. He was a regular attendee at Welsh championships and functions and attended the last Welsh Athletics Hall of Fame dinner in October and the Sports Aid lunch in March.

Sincere condolences are sent to his wife, Lynda.

Funeral arrangements are to follow.

Clive Williams