Welsh sprint legend Ron Jones dies

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Two-time Olympian and former sprint relay world record holder dies aged 87

Ron Jones, captain of the British athletics team at the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City, multiple Welsh sprint champion and co-holder of the 4 × 110-yard world record in 1963, has died at the age of 87 .

Outside of athletics, he became Managing Director of Queens Park Rangers in 1976 and Managing Director of Cardiff and Portsmouth Football Clubs.

He will best be remembered, however, as part of a British relay team that tied the 40.0-yard 4×110-yard world record to beat an American quartet anchored by Bob ‘the bullet’ Hayes 59 years ago. year.

The scene was a GB vs USA game in White City on August 5, 1963. It was, AW Mel Watman reported at the time, “a date to be cherished” and a reunion “that will go down in history as one of the most successful international games of all time”.

Jones was center stage with two teammates of the same last name – David Jones and Berwyn Jones – as well as Peter Radford as they teamed up to become the first team to defeat an American sprint relay quartet for many years. .

Earlier in the same meeting, Ron Jones was second to Hayes at 100 yards. The American would go on to win the Olympic 100m title 12 months later in Tokyo, while Jones was considered not only the best in Britain at the time, but also No.1 in Europe.

Sprint relay records (left) and Ron Jones hand over to Berwyn Jones

He also proved it by clocking a time of 9.6 to finish within a yard of Hayes, who ran 9.5 on a rain-soaked track. In that same 1963 season, Jones also broke a Welsh 100m record of 10.30, which was so good he survived 27 years before Colin Jackson finally clinched it.

In the relay, Radford led the British team and passed the baton to Ron Jones, who passed the baton to Dave Jones on the turn, and then to Berwyn Jones at anchor, as the team pushed back the Americans at the quick finish that had Hayes in the final. leg.

Born in Cwmaman near Aberdare on August 19, 1934, Ron Jones started late in track and field but eventually started competing for the Cardiff Birchgrove Harriers. He won the first of his 12 Welsh sprint titles in 1956 and his last in 1970, while outside Wales he won the AAA 100m crown in 1969 at the age of 34.

As for the international championships, he has participated in two Olympic Games, four Commonwealth Games and three European Championships.

Mexico 1968 GB team (Getty)

In the image above, taken before the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico, the athletes are (L to R) Pat Jones, Alan Pascoe, Mary Rand, Ron Jones, Ian McCafferty, Lynn Davies, Andy Todd, Lillian Board and team manager Cecil Dole.

Jones received the MBE in the 2001 New Years Honors for service to sport and charity and was inducted into the Welsh Athletics Hall of Fame in 2009.


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