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Carmarthen hosted the ever popular Dyfed primary schools athletics championships last Wednesday evening (14th June), which again delivered as they turned up in their hundreds. Following excellent numbers at the Dyfed cross country edition at Nantyci’s United Showground back in March, attention turned to the track and field athletics.

On a pleasant, warm and sunny evening in West Wales after a rather wet and windy weekend which resulted in the cancellation of the secondary schools competition, the 30th annual event sponsored by McDonalds and the Rotary Club of Carmarthen attracted an impressive number of just under 400 athletes. The dry weather helped boost the numbers of spectators that were in attendance from Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion.

The championships have grown every year since Hedydd Davies, Carmarthen Harriers Chairman organised the first event twenty seven years ago in 1990. The schools athletics season in Dyfed continued with the annual midweek Dyfed championships at the leisure centre facility in Johnstown as approximately 45 schools from across the three areas participated. Once again the track was full, car park packed and food was quickly sold, with plenty of local talent out on show watched on by family and friends. The event timetable included a series of 14 events in total and saw the championships go on until late. With races coming thick and fast, the 100m & 800m were popular with a number of heats having taken place and completed – 35 heats, 6 finals, 2 time trials and 6 field events.

The West Wales Athletics Network Officer Andrew Jenkins said: “A fantastic evening of athletics at the Dyfed primary championships on an ideal evening for holding an outdoor sporting event. Well done to all pupils, teachers and officials who participated and contributed towards a successful meeting. From our point of view, the aim is that school competitions will hopefully gain experience and attract children to join clubs from the talent that is shown, with the potential for many to progress further in the future.”

The winners this year for 2017 was Ysgol Y Dderwen, the Carmarthenshire schools athletics champions last month, scoring 49 points and finishing off in style with both teams in the relay finals. Ysgol Aberaeron was rewarded for their long journey down south with a second place finish (26). Not far behind were familiar top placing schools: Ysgol Iau Llangennech with 24, Ysgol Griffith Jones (21) and Ysgol Gymraeg Rhydaman (20) A total of 30 schools scored, more than ever before.

Special guests were on hand to help with the presentation of awards to the top 3 in each event with a good crowd staying on as darkness fell to cheer the athletes who made it onto the podium. Presentations were awarded by: Cllr Irfan Jones, Chairman of Carmarthenshire County Council, Cllr Phil Grice, Sheriff of Carmarthen, Raja, the President of the Rotary club of Carmarthen and Lynette Harries, President of Welsh Athletics who were all impressed with the turn out and the standard of the competition.

Results: Girls – 70m Hurdles – 1 Fiona Allen (St Florence) 2 Maisie Williams (Griffith Jones) 3 Julia Dabrowska (Richmond Park); 100m – 1 Keira Carmody (Model) 2 Megan Roberts (Gorslas) 3 Sophia Reid-Thomas (Llangynnwr); 800m – 1 Bethan Adams (Iau Llangennech) 2 Lucy Wintle (Hafan Y Môr) 3 Erin Morgan (Y Dderwen); 4 x 100m Relay – 1 Ysgol Bigyn 2 Ysgol Llangynnwr 3 Ysgol Iau Llangennech; High Jump – 1 Hannah Forkuoh (Bigyn) 2 Freya Evans (Griffith Jones) 3 Eleanor White (Roch); Long Jump – 1 Jessica Lee (Llys Hywel) 2 Hanna Evans (Y Ddwylan) 3 Mel Allen (Hafan Y Môr); Shot – 1 Julia Makejew (Templeton) 2 Lowri Jones (Aberaeron) 3 Ffion Davies (Saron)

Boys – 70m Hurdles – 1 Harri Howells (Y Dderwen) 2 Jake Lewis (Bro Pedr) 3 Osian Roberts (Carreg Hirfaen); 100m – 1 Llew Vardill (Y Dderwen) 2 Tiaan Sparrow (Gymraeg Rhydaman) 3 Shivo Hinds (Y Bedol); 800m – 1 Ifan Bowen (Y Dderwen) 2 Jack Thomas (Richmond Park) 3 Rhys Jenkins (Aberaeron); 4 x 100m Relay – 1 Ysgol Y Dderwen 2 Ysgol Gymraeg Rhydaman 3 Tenby Juniors School; High Jump – 1 Dion James (Y Dderwen) 2 Jake Williams (Griffith Jones) 3 Ceri James (Penygaer); Long Jump – 1 Oscar Miles (Tenby) 2 Morgan Evans (Griffith Jones) 3 Ioan Mutter (Lamphey); Shot – 1 Tomos Phillips (Gymraeg Rhydaman) 2 Casper Kracewich (Bro Pedr) 3 Jenson Lloyd (Aberaeron)

Carmarthen Harriers Social Media & Press Officer Nathan Jones added “It is great to see so many schools and children supporting the events arranged by the club in Dyfed and West Wales, as were evident with the large number of visitors at the recent Carmarthenshire and Dyfed schools championships. For the last 25 years, athletics meetings have been arranged in Carmarthen to give young people the opportunity to compete and to find the stars of the future. Whatever their ability, the evening’s programme was open to everyone in the district to get involved in running while enjoying the race day atmosphere supported from the side-lines by friends, teachers and families.” The partnership between Dyfed clubs including Carmarthen Harriers and Dyfed schools continue to grow and has already resulted in the club being awarded with the Welsh Athletics Partnership Award a number of times over the past few years, including in 2016 for its work with McDonalds. As usual, volunteers played a huge part in supporting the competition and organisers would like to thank everyone who helped in any way to ensure that the event was once again a high quality occasion with great performances and team spirit all round. The school calendar for the season concludes with the annual Dyfed v West Glamorgan inter primary schools match, this year to be held in Carmarthen (5.15pm) on Thursday July 13th, following the staging of the Welsh NAS/UWT track & field cup & plate competition at the Brecon athletics track earlier that day, where the best secondary teams from the eight Welsh districts will battle it out to be crowned Welsh schools champions (12 noon)

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