Tuesday 2nd - Bright start for Welsh Athletes
Photos: Gary Mitchell
Day one of the Track & Field programme saw three of Wales’ top sprinters in action with Paralympian and Commonwealth Gold medal winner Olivia Breen, recently crowned British 100m Champion Jeremiah Azu, and Welsh Record holder Hannah Brier, competing in her second games 8 years after her debut age 16 in Glasgow. Heptathlete Lauren Evans also began her gruelling seven event schedule, and British Champion Shot putter Adele Nicoll looked to qualify for her final and lay down a marker.
Olivia Breen who took Bronze in the T38 100m on the Gold Coast in 2018 in 13.35, was once again up against England’s Sophie Hahn & Australia’s Rhiannon Clarke, Gold and Silver medallists in 2018. Having run a new lifetime best just a few weeks ago of 12.76, Olivia took to her blocks in heat two and ran a fantastic, relaxed 13.03 for second place and easy qualification through to the final – a great team captain’s performance. A proud Olivia told us:
“I was nervous, but it was amazing having everyone supporting us. I saved myself for tonight. It’s an honour to be team captain and I feel like Wales are going to do really well. Fingers crossed for tonight!”
In a stacked men’s 100m where there were 10 heats, Jeremiah Azu progressed from heat seven in second place a time of 10.35 looking comfortable and able to shut it down in the last few metres. He’ll now look to rest up before tomorrow’s very competitive looking semi-finals. Jeremiah commented:
“I wasn’t expecting this many people for the heats, walking out was amazing. First day, I’ve been itching to go, I got out well, and was able to save some energy for tomorrow.”
In the women’s Shot Put qualifying, auto qualification was set at 18m – just further than Adele’s PB, but fresh from becoming British Champion, she started with a fantastic first throw of 17.19m in pool A which ranked her xx in the field of 13 women, she comfortably made it through to tomorrow evening final. A smiling Adele said:
“I told everyone before I came here I was going to get into the shape of my life and that is where I’m at, that was an easy throw, it lays down the marker for tomorrow, I’ve got so much more to give. It’s so exciting, the crowd were amazing, I’m going to take the energy from that and all the Welsh flags I could see.”
Hannah Brier ran in heat four of seven of the women’s 100m heat, she finished 4th in a time of 11.48 which left her with a nervous wait to see if she would progress to the semi-finals. After all the heats, her time ranked her as third non-automatic qualifier meaning she’ll be back for the semi-finals tomorrow.
After two events on day one of the Heptathlon, Lauren Evans sits in sixth. She started well in the 100m Hurdles running 13.89 [994 points] before clearing 1m72 in the high jump . This evening she’ll be taking throwing in the Shot Put and will close out the day with the 200m. The Long Jump, Javelin and 800m await on day two.