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Jones can break hammer record claims throwing guru Pickering Commonwealth Games ace backed to set new national mark in Welsh championships.

Byline: TIM LEWIS

TRACK & FIELD SHAUN PICKERING reckons his 31-year-old Welsh hammer record could go at the Welsh Championships - and it could be Osian Jones who beats it.

Reigning champion Jonathan Edwards will be missing because of a dislocated shoulder for the championships in Cardiff on June 27.

But two other Commonwealth Games throwers, Jones and Matt Richards, will be there to battle it out with rising junior star Jac Palmer.

Pickering, who set 17 British records in three throwing events, expects his 1984 Welsh best of 68.64 metres to be beaten - probably by former Menai Track & Field athlete Jones.

He said: "I was hoping and half expecting my record to go at the Loughborough International last month when Osian was throwing for Wales. The conditions were right and everyone was up for it.

"We saw a terrific competition in which Mark Dry threw 76.93, Chris Bennett 74.66, Alex Smith 69.22 and Osian 67.88.

"All bar Alex claimed personal bests and Osian's throw put him within 76 centimetres of my Welsh record.

"I had a good chat to him after the event and I told him I expect him to take the record this summer.

"I love his athleticism, but I'm not as big a fan of his technique - he seems to do some unnecessary things with his arms.

"If you try to battle against the hammer it is going to beat you. Osian has got great power, and he is fast in the circle, but you need to be as smooth and even as possible."

Pickering, who coaches throwers across Europe, won 19 Welsh titles during his career, nine of them in the hammer. He won five titles each in the shot putt and discus and still holds the Welsh records in the hammer and shot (20.45m).

But the hammer remains his favourite having started his career in that event before a back injury forced him to move into the shot putt.

Having worked with many of Britain's top hammer throwers in recent years, he believes a golden era is imminent.

"I expect the British, as well as the Welsh record to go this year," said the Gwent man. "There is a lot of talent out there and everyone is pushing each other, which is great.

"I think Osian and Jac Palmer, who is doing so well as an under-20, will both throw over 70 metres, but the Scot, Nick Miller, should become the first Brit to break 80 metres.

Email your stories gareth.bicknell@trinitymirror.Follow me on @DPOSTATHLETICS "He's got that within him this summer.

"It's great to see the event doing so well and it would be absolutely fantastic if we could get a British athlete to win a medal in one of the heavy throws even at the Olympics in the not too distant future."

The last time a British athlete won an Olympic medal in the hammer, shot or discus was in Paris in 1924, when hammer thrower Malcolm Noades, claimed bronze with a throw of 48.87 metres.

to com Twitter The only British shot putt medal at the Olympics was silver for Dennis Horgan in London in 1908, while nobody has won a discus medal.

The Welsh Senior / U17 / U13 Championships take place at the Cardiff International Sports Stadium on Saturday and Sunday, June 27 & 28. Entry PS11, under 11s go free.

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Osian Jones, from Caernarfon, can be part of a golden age of British hammer throwing, says Welsh record-holder Shaun Pickering PICTURE: ARWYN
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Daily Post (Conwy, Wales)
Date:Jun 19, 2015
Words:590
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