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Review of the year.

Thursday 27 December 2012

There can be little doubt that 2012 was a good year for athletics – and Cardiff AAC did pretty well too. The highlight was the London Olympic Games and Cardiff was proud to provide four Olympians (Christian Malcolm, Rhys Williams, Gareth Warburton and Ava Hutchinson) as well as the captain of the British Paralympic athletics team, Tracey Hinton. And, at the European Championships in Helsinki, Rhys Williams (pictured) struck gold to become European 400m hurdles champion. All club teams performed well and numerous Cardiff athletes featured in the top twenty UK rankings.

At the Olympic Games, Christian Malcolm was taking part in his fourth Olympic Games and Tracey Hinton in her sixth, tremendous achievements for both of them.

Ava Hutchinson was, of course, representing her native Ireland and went on to be part of the gold medal winning Irish team at the European Cross Country Championships in December.

Missing out on an Olympic place through injury was Joe Thomas who had started the year in fine form, setting indoor personal bests for the 800m and winning selection for Great Britain at the World Indoor Championships in Turkey.

Club team successes came throughout the year and first off were the under 13, under 15 and under 17 boys’ teams and the under 15 girls’ team that each won gold medals at the Welsh cross country championships in February.

On the track, all the club teams performed well with the Welsh under 15 League team winning all its matches by a street to qualify for the all-Wales final. The National Young Athletes League team, competing for the last time before the league is reorganised, exceeded expectations by qualifying for the Midlands regional final. The senior men’s British League team maintained its position in the National Division One and, against tough opposition, have hopes of promotion to the Premier Division next year. The UK Women’s League team and National Junior League team also maintained their positions.

Within Wales, Cardiff proved once again that it is the top Welsh club by winning the Wilkinsons Sword trophy, awarded to the Welsh club that gains the most number of Welsh Championship medals over the season; so it is a good test of strength in depth.

Welsh meritorious awards were granted to club members Enfys Hawthorn, Rob Hooper, Susan Hooper and Tracey Hinton and, at the BBC Wales Sports personality of the year, life member Lynn Davies received the prestigious Lifetime Award. Lynn, who is President of UK Athletics, had, earlier in the year, been one of those taking part in the London Olympics Torch Relay. Other club members involved in the Relay were Melanie Stephenson, Caitlin Exton, Mike Kallenberg and Ken Bennett.

At the Welsh Awards Dinner, Cardiff’s former Great Britain 400m star Tim Benjamin was inducted into the Welsh Hall of Fame.

On the 5th September, Radio Wales devoted its entire Jamie Owen programme to a live broadcast from the club’s base at the Cardiff International Sports Stadium and featured extensive interviews with club members – a great advertisement.

The Olympic Games produced a rush of new members wanting to experience athletics and around 100 newcomers turned up on a single evening soon after the Games. Of course, all these are very welcome but it has put a strain on the club’s organisation, particularly the coaches, and we hope that many of the parents of these youngsters will be ready to help out.

There were other excellent achievements too numerous to mention and for individual members a personal best is just as important as a medal and is a stepping-stone to the future. It is also interesting to compare performances with the best and the Cardiff athletes featured in the Power of Ten top 20 UK track and field rankings were:

Under 13 boys:
60m:  Ben Paris (8.31):  13th
200m:  Sam Wink (25.99):  15th
60mH:  Daniel Murathodzic (10.34):  6th
75mH:  Ben Paris (12.5):  9th

Under 13 girls:
60mH:  Lauren Evans (10.51):  17th
70mH:  Lauren Evans (11.30):  2nd
High Jump:  Amy Ahia (1.47m):  11th

Under 15 boys:
300m:  Ryan James (37.51):  16th
400m:  Ryan James (52.97):  14th
60mH:  Harry Hillman (8.58):  2nd
80mH:  Harry Hillman (11.50):  9th
High Jump:  Tom Trotman (1.86m): 4th
Long Jump:  Tom Trotman (5.96m):  16th
Pentathlon:  Tom Trotman (2,608):  12th
Pentathlon:  Harry Hillman (2,578):  13th

Under 17 boys:
400mH:  Ryan Cooper (55.87):  8th
Hammer:  Jac Palmer (63.85m):  5th

Under 17 girls:
1500m:  Ellie Atkinson (4:32.71):  9th
60mH:  Claire Taylor (9.06):  14th
300mH:  Lara Durrani (45.63):  19th
Pole Vault:  Olivia Evans (3.11m):  16th
Javelin:  Tasia Stephens (41.63m):  3rd

Under 20 men:
60m:  Michael Prentice (6.98):  18th
800m:  Elliot Slade (1:49.14):  4th
2000m s/c:  Matthew Edwards (6:11.10):  13th
Pole Vault:  Lewis Newton (4.55m):  8th
Pole Vault:  David Callan (4.25m):  19th
Shot Put:  Matthew Field (16.92m):  2nd
Discus:  Matthew Field (44.63m):  14th
Javelin:  Bradley Cole (56.85m):  15th

Under 20 women:
High Jump:  Ffion Boddily (1.72m):  9th
Triple Jump:  Megan O’Sullivan (12.01m):  6th

Senior men:
60m:  Christian Malcolm (6.68):  8th
100m:  Christian Malcolm (10.27):  9th
200m:  Christian Malcolm (20.46):  3rd
800m:  Gareth Warburton (1:44.98):  3rd
800m:  Joe Thomas (1:46.33):  5th
5000m:  Adam Bitchell (14:01.69):  19th
3000m s/c:  Ieuan Thomas (9:00.12):  20th
400mH:  Rhys Williams (49.17):  3rd
Triple Jump:  Gary White (15.31m):  12th
Decathlon:  Francis Baker (7,016):  13th
10k:  Joe McDonald (29:08):  4th
10k:  Alex Hains (29:34):  14th
Half Marathon:  Alex Hains (64:30):  10th

Senior women:
400m:  Emma Pullen (53.82):  17th
400mH:  Emma Peters (59.87):  13th
2000m s/c:  Emily Brown (6:57.52):  11th
3000m s/c:  Emily Brown (11:02.90):  18th
Pole Vault: Bryony Raine (4.14m):  6th

So, all in all, another successful year and we can look forward to the future with confidence.