As the Commonweath Games gets in to full swing on Australia’s Gold Coast my thoughts turn to three Welsh rugby international players, who graced both the rugby field and the athletics track.
The Three athletes, who span three different generations, are all wingers ,all played for Wales with distinction, and also graced the tracks of the Olympic and commonwealth games.
Ken Jones played 44 times for Wales, scored 17 tries and captained his country on one occasion, staggeringly he is the last Welshman to score a try in a Wales win against New Zealand back in 1953.
Ken was the anchorman of the British 4 x 100 relay team in the 1948 Olympics that won silver, which was upgraded to Gold, when the USA were disqualified for an illegal baton change, a decision that was rescinded three days later, and the original result was declared official.
In 1954 Ken won another silver medal, this time in the European Championships, as part of Britain’s 4 x 100 relay team, he also won a bronze in the 200 yards, at the 1954 commonwealth games.
When the Commonwealth Games, which were then known as the British Empire and Commonwealth Games, were held in Cardiff, in 1958, Ken Jones was given the honour of being the final runner to carry the baton with the Queen’s message during the opening ceremony.
J.J is a Wales and Lions legend, and needs no introduction, but as plain John Williams, he ran for Wales in the 1970 Commonwealth games in Edinburgh.
He came fifth in the heats of the 100m, clocking a time of 10.6 behind Hasley Crawford who went on to win Olympic gold at Montreal in 1976.
JJ also reached the quarter finals of the 200m, finishing seventh in a race won by Don Quarrie, and he was also a member of the Wales 4 x 100 relay team who came fifth in the final.
Rhys Williams, JJ’s son has achieved success as a 400m hurdler of international renown, so there are some pretty good genes flying around the Williams dynasty.
Nigel Walker played for Cardiff, and made his rugby debut for Wales on 6 March 1993 against Ireland, he won 17 caps for Wales scoring 12 tries.
Another flying winger, he represented Great Britain at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, reaching the semi final of 110m hurdles clocking a time of 14.07
Nigel had a distinguished athletics career, winning bronze in the 60m hurdles at both the European and World indoor championships in 1987.
He was also a semi finalist in the 1989 World championships, came fifth in the 1990 Commonwealth games in the 110m hurdles, and reached the semi finals of the world indoor, and outdoor, championships in 1992 in the 60m hurdles event.
His personal best in the 110m hurdles stands at 13.51 achieved in Birmingham in 1990.