FRIDAY evening, (Jun 7) and Saturday 8th June saw the big Dyfed Secondary Schools Athletics Championships return to the Carmarthen Leisure Centre Athletics Track in Johnstown with spaces at the Welsh Schools Championships up for grabs.
It saw approximately 350 athletes from Pembrokeshire, Brianne, Llanelli and Ceredigion taking the spotlight and several hundred parents and teachers attend throughout the weekend to support the young athletes. Whilst there were plenty of club runners from Pembrokeshire, Carmarthen, Llanelli and Swansea present, it was also the opportunity for the less experienced schoolchildren to take part in a major competition.
The top finishers in each event from the four area championships that were held in May at Carmarthen, Llanelli and Haverfordwest qualified to compete and represent their area at the two-day weekend programme on the track and in the field.
The action got underway at a rain-soaked Carmarthen on Friday evening (Jun 7) where the first five events of the 2019 championships was held ahead of the big day. These included the 300m and 400m distance hurdles, 1000m Walk, 3000m along with the hammer in the field. Unfortunately the Pole Vault was cancelled due to unsafe conditions in West Wales.
Around 14 hours later for the school athletes, parents and teachers, all roads from Pembrokeshire, Ceredigion and Carmarthenshire led to the Carmarthen Leisure Centre in Johnstown early on Saturday morning (Jun 8) where the first set of events began at 10.00am on the field with the track hurdles heats a short time after. Thankfully the heavy rain cleared just in time and gave way to a bright and breezy Saturday for the remainder of the disciplines.
The races kept on coming and after a series of heats, time trials and straight finals, the competition came to a close at 17:30 at the end of a long but exciting eight-hour timetable.
Some of the event disciplines completed throughout the morning and afternoon on the running track were the 100m/200m/300m/400m sprints, sprint hurdles, 800m, 1500m and steeplechase. The ever-popular events were back on the field with a number of athletes contesting the long jump, triple jump, high jump, shot, javelin and discus on all four corners of the venue.
The Dyfed Schools team for the Welsh Schools National Track and Field Championships to be held on Saturday 6th July at Cardiff International Sports Stadium, has been selected straight after the Dyfed Championships and letters have been posted to all the athletes selected.
The event on July 6th will feature teams from Afan Nedd Tawe, Cardiff & Vale, Dyfed, Eryri, Glamorgan Valleys, North East Wales, Powys and South East Wales at a championships which will again form as part of the Urdd’s Gemau Cymru Multi-Sport Festival in the Welsh Capital and up in North Wales at Y Bala.
Eleven days after the Dyfed Secondary Schools Athletics Championships was held, the Dyfed Schools District’s NASUWT Cup Final Match soon came around rapidly and headed to the Haverfordwest High School Prendergast Campus Athletics Track earlier this week (Wednesday Jun 19). The the venue is also the home of Pembrokeshire Harriers.
The boys and girls’ age groups were split into under 14 (year 7 and 8) and under 16 (year 9 and 10) where a total of thirty teams featured in the Haverfordwest daytime sunshine and warmth.
The event programme was over three hours with the first event at 11.00am at the secondary school facility. The final relay concluded the day shortly before 2pm and saw the hurdles, 100m, 200m, 300m, 800m, and 1500m on the track. Meanwhile on the field, the javelin, shot, long jump, high jump, triple jump and discus was contested on all corners of the venue.
During the day, we saw several great races and performances as well as vocal supporters on the side supporting each other with a number of the top athletes from the Dyfed district out on show. Looking at team scores, several categories came down to the last few races including the very last relay race, so everything was to play for up to the very last few metres.
Schools from Queen Elizabeth, Dyffryn Taf, Dyffryn Aman, Bro Dinefwr, Haverfordwest High, Preseli, Aberaeron, Bro Pedr, Penweddig, Bryngwyn, Strade, Coedcae and Glan Y Môr were all top 2/highest finishers in their respective county and cup matches earlier on in May & June. As a result, these participating schools travelled from all three counties in Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire to take part in this midweek fixture.
All roads lead to Brecon for Welsh Schools finals: Eight teams qualified which will come from Ysgol Y Preseli, Ysgol Coedcae, Ysgol Aberaeron, Queen Elizabeth School, Haverfordwest High School and Ysgol Dyffryn Taf.
The winners and runners-up from the under 14 girls, under 14 boys, under 16 girls and under 16 boys now go forward to represent Dyfed district at the Welsh Schools National NASUWT Cymru Cup & Plate Finals at Penlan Arena, on Wednesday 10th July from 12.00 noon. It is expected to be a very highly competitive fixture between the top eight team districts in Wales with some very exciting races on the track and in the field anticipated, as each team will look to become National champions in 2019. The sixty-four teams will be heading to Mid Wales from Afan Nedd Tawe, Cardiff & Vale, Dyfed, Eryri, Glamorgan Valleys, North East Wales, Powys and South East Wales.