Diana Davies (athlete)

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Diana Davies (née Elliott; born 7 May 1961) is a retired female high jumper from Great Britain. Her personal best of 1.95 metres set on 26 June 1982, at a meet in Oslo, Norway, stood as the UK national record until 2014. She competed at two Olympic Games, reaching the final on both occasions. In Los Angeles 1984, she finished in 9th place (1.88 m), while in Seoul 1988, she finished 8th (1.90m).

Career[edit]

As a seventeen-year-old, Diana Elliott finished second at the 1978 AAAs National Championships with 1.76 metres. She would also be runner-up at the 1980 AAAs Indoors and the 1981 AAAs Outdoors.

Her breakthrough year came in 1982 when she broke the UK records, both indoors and outdoors. Indoors she broke Ann-Marie Cording's record of 1.91 m with a clearance of 1.94 to finish fifth at the European Indoor Championships in Milan. She then set a new outdoor mark of 1.95 m in Oslo, to add one centimetre to Louise Miller's previous record of 1.94 m. The indoor record would survive for fifteen years. Debbie Marti (1991) and Jo Jennings (1993) both equalled it, before Marti cleared 1.95 in 1997. This remained the record until Katarina Johnson-Thompson cleared 1.96 m in 2014. The outdoor record stood for 32 years. It was equalled by both Susan Jones (2001) and Jessica Ennis (2007), before Isobel Pooley broke it with a clearance of 1.96 m in August 2014.

She won her first national titles in 1984, winning all three, AAAs Indoor, UK Championship and AAAs Outdoor. At her first Olympic Games in Los Angeles, she cleared 1.90 in the qualification round, before finishing equal ninth in the final with 1.88.

In 1986, now Diana Davies, she again won all three national titles and finished fourth at two major Championships. At the European Indoor Championships in Madrid she was fourth with 1.90 m. Then at the Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh, in one of the highest quality Commonwealth high jump competitions, she again found 1.90 m not enough for a medal, losing out on countback to the Northern Irish pair, Sharon McPeake and Janet Boyle. The winner was Australia's Christine Stanton with 1.92 m. At the European Championships in Stuttgart, both McPeake and Boyle failed to reach the final, leaving Davies as the only UK finalist, placing eighth with 1.87 m.

In 1987, she finished a fine fifth at the World Indoor Championships in Indianapolis, with 1.91 m.

Davies qualified for her second Olympic Games in 1988. At the games in Seoul, she again reached the final. Having cleared 1.92 m in qualification she cleared 1.90 m for equal eighth. With fellow UK jumper Janet Boyle also reaching the final (12th), 1988 remains the last Olympic high jump final to feature two UK women. Davies is also the last British women to reach two Olympic high jump finals. The only UK finalist since being Debbie Marti in 1992.

Davies won her fourth AAAs Outdoor title in 1989, earning selection for the 1990 Commonwealth Games in Auckland, which were held in January. In Auckland she finished a disappointing ninth, only managing to clear 1.80 m. This would be her last major international competition.

After several low key years, Davies won her first national medal in six years at the 1995 AAAs National Championships, finishing second to Lea Haggett on countback, both having cleared 1.85 m.

She now works in Woolden Hill primary school in Leicester.

Achievements[edit]

  • 4 Times AAAs National Champion 1984,85,86,89 ( 2nd in 1978,81,95 )
  • 2 Times AAAs National Indoor Champion 1984,86 ( 2nd in 1980,82,87 )
  • 4 Times UK National Champion 1984,86,87,88 ( 2nd in 1982 )
Year Competition Venue Position Notes
Representing  Great Britain /  England
1982 European Indoor Championships Milan, Italy 5th 1.94 m
Commonwealth Games Brisbane, Australia 6th 1.80 m
1984 Olympic Games Los Angeles, United States 9th 1.88 m (1.90)
1986 European Indoor Championships Madrid, Spain 4th 1.90 m
Commonwealth Games Edinburgh, United Kingdom 4th 1.90 m
European Championships Stuttgart, Germany 8th 1.87 m (1.89)
1987 European Indoor Championships Lievin, France 14th 1.85 m
World Indoor Championships Indianapolis, United States 5th 1.91 m
1988 European Indoor Championships Budapest, Hungary 13th 1.80 m
Olympic Games Seoul, South Korea =8th 1.90 m (1.92)
1990 Commonwealth Games Auckland, New Zealand =9th 1.80 m
  • Results in brackets is the height achieved in qualifying round.

References[edit]