Welsh athletes picked up three medals across the weekend at the WPA European Championships.
Olivia Breen kicked off the success on Saturday by winning Bronze in the 100m, champion Breen putting her troubles with a knee injury, that forced her out of the long jump, to one side to claim a fantastic bronze in a season’s best 13.30 (1.7m/s).
As well as long jump gold, Breen won bronze in the 100m at the Commonwealth Games in April and on her latest medal success she said: “I have been here for ten days I was saying to myself ‘come on, let’s go’ so I am so happy to finish on a high and get a medal.
“I thought it was best to be safe [doing the 100m and not the long jump] and think about the future. My knee is important for the long jump. It has been a bit up and down, but I am so happy to finish on a high.”
I am really excited for the next two years. Within the next month, my coach and I are going to sit down and put a plan together for the next two years and talk about Tokyo. That is the main goal and I am so excited about it all.”
Aled Davies made history once more as he secured the ‘triple double’ on the final day in Berlin, and the universal 4x100m relay team also added gold on the final day of action.
Davies set a new Championship record to claim gold in the men’s F63 shot put. Despite breaking his throwing leg brace in the warm-up, Davies led from start to finish in the shot put final, breaking the Championship record twice in the process. He threw 14.96m in the second round, before extending his winning margin even further, with a final round throw of 15.49m to seal the 13th major title of his career, despite his leg brace being heavily taped up for his last three throws.
After securing another European title, he said: “If you listed down everything that could go down in four years, they all happened in the space of six months. This year has definitely been tough. I didn’t want to just hand over the titles, I wanted to come here and give everything I have got and that’s what I did. It has taken a lot, it’s probably two of the hardest golds I have ever had to fight for.
“When my leg brace snapped I thought ‘you have got to be kidding me?’. I got my tape out and I thought it’s not out of reach of these guys yet, so I am going to have to keep battling on, hopping around. I gave it everything I had, it was just raw aggression that got through in the end.”
Great Britain and Northern Ireland’s 20th and final gold medal of the Championships came in the last action on the track as the Universal 4x100m relay team which included Wales Laura Sugar broke the national and world record to take victory.
Zac Shaw got the team off to a quick start before Laura and Sophie Hahn put GB & NI in a strong position heading onto the final leg. Nathan Maguire brought the team home in a time of 48.73, a world record mark.
In the men’s T35 200m, Jordan Howe gave everything he had to try and deny Ukraine’s Ihor Tsvietov a sprint double following Tsvietov’s victory in the T35 100m.
The 22-year-old pushed the Ukrainian all the way to the line in the 200m final, but Tsvietov had too much for the British athlete in the final 50m. As there were only two athletes in the final, only the gold was on offer, with Howe recording a time of 27.04 (+0.6 m/s).
Howe said: “200 metres is not my event, so it was always going to be hard for myself. It was a good result, it was a good run. I thought I ran the first 100m OK, I tried to execute it on the bend a bit differently, but it was an OK run.”
Steve Morris also narrowly missed out on a medal in Saturdays T20 men’s 1500 metres final as he finished fourth just 24 hours after finishing in the same position in the 800m final.
Cardiff’s Morris said “It was a battle. I got pushed a couple of times. I went a bit too soon with 250m to go, I should have waited a bit. I got pushed a bit on the first lap and second lap and last 150m and lost my rhythm a bit.
“I wanted to stay in second and third and stay relaxed as possible. It is just the sprint I have been lacking on. The strength is there, I just haven’t got the speed in the legs at this distance. I am going to focus on the 1500m and 5,000m next year. I am going to go up a distance and that will be a good challenge. I thought I had it at 250m, I hadn’t gone too quick even though it was quite windy. It is just tough out there racing against world-class athletes.”
” I have had a good season, ran personal bests in the 1500m and 10,000m and am getting stronger. I have to look at the positives,” added Morris.