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Athletics: Douglas triumphs in record attempt; WELSH ATHLETICS CHAMPIONSHIPS Wrexham athlete sets new championship best.

Byline: GARETH BICKNELL at Colwyn Bay

LAURA DOUGLAS threw a championship record in the hammer in a battle to smash the Welsh record yesterday.

The championship record was first broken by Carys Parry with 58.56m, before Wrexham athlete Douglas threw 59.04m with her penultimate attempt to be crowned Welsh Champion.

Rhondda athlete Parry had to settle for silver with 58.56m, with Birchfield Harrier Lesley Branning, originally from Deeside,finishing third.

Telford athlete Chris Davies lead from the front in a fearless performance to win the 1500m in a PB of 3m.43.27s. Other North Wales golds at the national championships at Eirias Park, Colwyn Bay,came from Deeside athletes Kate Edmondson in the U20 400m, and Craig Phillips in the U20 triple jump. Wrexham-born Faye Harding won the U20 400m hurdles in 59.98s.

Sale Harrier Douglas said she was delighted to return to form after an inconsistent period in which she saw the Welsh record taken from her by rival Parry.

She said: ``I'm really pleased to come here and win with a throw only 12 cm off my PB.

``It's a lot better than I was throwing two weeks ago when I was stuck on 54m. It was nerve-racking,but Carys is a great competitior,and we push each other on.''

She said both Parry,bronze medal list Lesley Branning and herself were all aiming to be the first Welsh woman to break 60m for the hammer.

``I think the record will go a couple of times before that -Carys will probably break it a couple of times first.''

Douglas, 21, is concentrating on maintaining her throws at 59m in next week's U23 AAA Championships,and in the senior event the following week.

Another athlete hoping to put in a strong performance at the AAAs is Welsh international Davies, who took on the pace right from the gun as he won the 1500m.

He said his victory at Colwyn Bay was a bonus during a season in which he is aiming for an Olympic qualifying time in the 5,000m.

Davies said: ``I feel like a track runner now after running on the roads most of the season.

``I just wanted a hard work out today,and I got one. I had nothing to lose by leading from the start because 1500m is not my event, so I'm delighted to get a PB.''

The field for the 1500m was missing Woodford Green's Matt Shone, from Llandudno, who pulled out of both middle distance events with a calf injury.

Wrexham's Luke Northall finished third in a time of 15.21.03 as he competed above his age group in the 5000m.

Menai's Sarah McRobie won silver in the U20 1500m in 5.07.02, with Wrexham's Victoria Jones third in 5.09.49.

Tony Golabek, from Deeside, won bronze in the 3000m steeplechase in 10.27.5.In the one lap hurdles,Wrexham's Barry Williams came third in 58.53s.

The championships also saw a Welsh record in the javelin by Neath's Lianne Clarke,despite the fact she was competing in the U20 age group.

Steve Brace,director of the Athletics Association of Wales, said the championships had been a success,and Colwyn Bay had justified the AAW's commitment to national championships in North Wales.

``It's been very fruitful,''he said. ``It's harder work to put a national championships on in the North,but Colwyn Bay is the ideal arena.''

CAPTION(S):

Wrexham's Luke Ogden competing in the javelin at Colwyn Bay on Saturday
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jun 21, 2004
Words:589
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