Michael Jenkins Leads The Way As Three Welsh Throwers Excel at World Para Athletics Championships

Welsh athletes proved their quality a year out from the Paris Paralympics by producing three top six finishes at the weekend in the World Para Athletics Championships in the same city.

Pride of place went to Michael Jenkins, who won the men’s F38 shot put silver on his senior Great Britain debut.

Another Welsh thrower, Harrison Walsh, finished fifth in the men’s F64 discus, while rookie Funmi Oduwaiye finished fourth in the F64 Shot Put in her first tournament at this level.

In Jenkins’ event, the world record was broken six times during the competition – once briefly by Jenkins – before he finished with a European record to add to his medal.

The seven feet tall thrower from Pembrokeshire said: “It’s surreal and my heart is pounding. I’m sure it will be for the coming days – it’s incredible and I’m very proud.

“Going out there, I did have a lot of expectations – I wanted to push it, I wanted to smash my own best, and as a minimum I wanted to get the European record – that was my main goal going in.”

Jenkins, who trains in Cardiff under Ryan Spencer-Jones, had gone into the event with a best throw of 15.30m – but every one of his efforts would have beaten the previous world record.

The 19-year-old shattered his best with his opening throw of 16.46, repeated that in round three after a second round foul.

In the fourth round, Jenkins sent the shot soaring out to 16.94m before producing a monster effort of 17.14m in the penultimate round which was a world record.

But Jose Gregorio Lemos of Columbia took gold with a world record breaking throw of 18.26m as Jenkins finished with an effort of 16.77m.

Jenkins added: “The really strong competition definitely helped push me – I don’t think I would’ve got that 17-metre throw without the pressure of the other athletes trying to raise the distance.”

The weekend of success for Welsh able-bodied athletes also included a new Welsh record and one near miss that still delivered a gold medal.

Melissa Courtney-Bryant smashed the 20-year-old Welsh 1500m record with a stunning display at the Diamond League meeting in Chorzow.

The Welsh ace clocked 3:58.01 to take a huge 1.94secs off the mark set by Hayley Tullett in Paris in 2003.

Courtney-Bryant’s time was more than two seconds quicker than her previous best (4:00.45) set in Nancy, France, in June this year.

Jeremiah Azu stormed to victory in the European Under 23 Championships in Finland.


The 22-year-old triumphed in Espoo in 10.05secs – just 0.01 secs off the Welsh record he set in Manchester last weekend.

Azu became the first Brit in history to retain a Euro U23 title in any event having won in Estonia in 2021.


Gerwyn Price vowed to improve after he moved into the second round of the World Matchplay by beating Stephen Bunting 10-3 in Blackpool.

After Bunting won the first two legs, Price hit back to level things up before sweeping to victory, claiming each of the last seven.

The Welshman, runner-up to Michael van Gerwen in last year’s competition, said: “I was 2-0 down, could have been 3-0 down – it was a slow start. I didn’t play brilliant, but I did what I had to do.

“I was up and down. It was just first-round jitters. Getting through the first round is always tough, but I’ll be better next round.”

Michael Jenkins Leads The Way As Three Welsh Throwers Excel at World Para Athletics Championships

Harry Corish - Sportin Journalist

If you had been looking for Wales football heroes to take over from Gareth Bale, then Nathan Broadhead would probably have been low down your list.

Yet cometh the very late hour, cometh the young man in Croatia as Broadhead grabbed the equaliser to earn his country a 1-1 draw in their first qualifier for Euro 2024.

Aaron Ramsey hadn’t scored, Kieffer Moore had hardly had a kick, but when the ball was flicked on to the far post, Broadhead – a 24-year-old, who plays League One football with Ipswich – reacted like a veteran international striker to deliver a priceless point.

The question for Wales now is can they carry on the momentum by beating Latvia at home on Tuesday night.

After all, the Latvians are considered the weakest team in the group and any point gained unexpectedly in Croatia would be handed back immediately if Wales don’t get all three points at the Cardiff City Stadium.

In Saturday night’s game, Wales could well have gone further behind after they went 1-0 down in the first-half to a goal from Andrej Kramaric.

But what will have encouraged the 2,000 members of the Red Wall who made the trip to the city of Split – as well as those watching on TV back home – was the positive nature of the Welsh response.

Manager Rob Page sent on fresh legs in the form of Broadhead, Sorba Thomas, Wes Burns and Tom Bradshaw and their energy proved decisive as the Croatians tired.

Some of the Welsh fans pictured celebrating at the end were also supporters of Barry Town United and it was a memorable weekend for them.

Earlier on Saturday, their club had hammered Pontardawe Town, 5-0, to confirm themselves champions of the JD Cymru South.

It will means a quick return to the JD Cymru Premier for Barry, who were relegated last season but will now go back up after a dominant campaign in the second tier of Welsh domestic football.

Eye-opening achievement of the weekend should go to Wrexham, whose crowd of 9,511 for their match at home to Connah’s Quay Nomads was a record for a women’s fixture in Wales.

They won 2-1 at The Racecourse in the Genero Adran North, 24 hours after their men’s team had beaten York City, 3-0, to stay top of the National League and on course for automatic promotion back to the Football League.

In the Genero Adran Premier, Cardiff City Women clinched their first title for 10 years after overcoming The New Saints, 3-1.

It was a weekend when most of the rest of Welsh football put their feet up, because of the international matches.

Cardiff City and Swansea City were able to get some extra training done ahead of their crunch Welsh derby meeting in the Championship this weekend, while Newport County’s planned League Two fixture against Harrogate was postponed due to international call-ups.

In the JD Cymru Premier, The New Saints had already sewn up the league title, but anyone thinking they might relax was proved wrong as they hammered Cardiff Met, 7-1 at the weekend.

In the only other fixture, Penybont maintained their position in third place, even though they were held, 2-2, at home to Bala Town.