The Women’s Amateur Athletic Association Championship

The Trevor Dawson Perpetual Challenge Cup presented by Commdr. Sir Trevor Dawson Bt. R.N. for the Shot Put

By Dr Jane Ainsworth

Story of the Event

Putting the shot was one of the earliest disciplines contested at the Women’s Amateur Athletic Association Championships, making its first appearance in 1923. Shot was the first of the throws to appear on the programme, along with javelin; discus following closely in 1924. The WAAA was considerably ahead of international competition, since shot put did not appear on the Olympic programme for women until 1948 nor the Commonwealth Games until 1954.

Winners of this trophy include some of the most outstanding athletes in the history of British athletics, both in the extent of their domination of the event and the breadth of their athletic talent. Six athletes won the event on four or more occasions, and it is almost the rule rather than exception for athletes to have held trophies for more than one event. 

Athletics trophy, silver with curved handles and fitted lid, engraved
Photo credit: Ruth Brennan

Eight athletes were champions in more than one discipline, most usually combining shot with discus.  Not content with this, Bevis Reid won all three throws available in the 1948 Championships, and Mary Peters, shot put champion in 1964 and 1970, set a trend for British Olympians in winning the pentathlon in Munich in 1972, having already won the WAAA Championships in pentathlon and 100m hurdles, and coming second in the High Jump that year. 

Sue Allday won 7 WAAA titles between 1954 and 1962, as well as Commonwealth silver and bronze medals in the shot, and Commonwealth gold and silver medals in the discus, while Myrtle Augee won the WAAA title in 1989, 1992 and 1992, and took Commonwealth gold in Auckland in 1990.

The name which appears most frequently on this trophy is Judy Oakes, who competed at elite level for over a span of three decades. Oakes’ name makes the first of thirteen appearances on this trophy in 1979 and its last in 1995. She competed at six Commonwealth Games between 1978 and 1998, medalling at all of them, winning three gold, two silver and a bronze. She also represented GB at the 1984, 1988, 1996 and 2000 Olympic Games. Her influence as a mentor to younger athletes, such as 2010 champion Eleanor Gatrell, continues.

The Donor
The high levels of energy and achievement outlined above certainly would have appealed to the donor of the trophy, Commander Sir Trevor Dawson. Otherwise the reasons behind his donation remain rather mysterious – although not as baffling as the link he provides between the event and the Fishmongers’ Company of which he was Master. The gift may have been the result of Sir James Heath’s persuasion, himself the donor of the Women’s javelin trophy. Dawson served in the Royal Navy and subsequently became Managing Director of Vickers Limited, with whose submarine business he was closely associated.

History of the Trophy
This trophy was first awarded to the winner of the WAAA championships in 1925 and therefore omits Florence Birchenough’s early victories in 1923 and 1924 on its list of winners. Until 1929, the competition was decided on an aggregate of throws with both hands. Early accounts of matches between the universities of Cambridge and Oxford, both instrumental in the codification of rules for several sports in the nineteenth century, describe the two universities following different styles of competition; Cambridge favouring puts with one arm while Oxford preferred a two-handed effort over the head.

Since 2010 the trophy has been awarded to the winner of the England Senior Championships Shot Put.

Previous Winners

1925     M E Weston                          1952     J. Linsell                                1973     B. Bedford

1926     F. Birchenough                    1953     J. Linsell                                1974     J. Haist

1927     F. Birchenough                    1954     S. Allday                               1975     B. Bedford

1928     M E Weston                          1955     J. Cook                                   1976     J. Kerr

1929     M E Weston                          1956     S. Allday                               1977     B. Bedford       

1930     E Otway                                1957     J. Cook                                   1978     A. Littlewood

1931     J. Phillips                               1958     S. Allday                               1979     J. Oakes

1932     J. Phillips                               1959     S. Allday                               1980     J. Oakes

1933     G de Kock                             1960     S. Allday                               1981     A. Littlewood

1934     K. Tilley                                 1961     S. Allday                               1982     J. Oakes

1935     K. Tilley                                1962     S. Allday                               1983     J. Oakes

1936     B. Steyl                                  1963     M. Klein                                1984     J. Oakes

1937     K. Tilley                                1964     M. Peters                               1985     J. Oakes

1938     B. Reid                                   1965     E. Schafer                             1986     J. Oakes

1939     B Reid                                    1966     B. Bedford                            1988     J. Oakes

1946     K Dyer                                   1967     B. Bedford                            1989   Myrtle Augee

1947     B. Reid                                   1968     M. Gummel                          1990     J. Oakes

1948     B. Reid                                   1969     B. Bedford                            1991     J. Oakes

1949     B. Reid                                   1970     M. Peters                               1992     Myrtle Augee

1950     J. Linsell                                1971     J. Roberts                              1993     M. Augee

1951     B. Shergold                          1972     J. Roberts                              1994     J. Oakes

                                                                                                                         1995     J. Oakes

2010 E. Gatrell2013 R. Wallader2016 D. Opara
2011 E. Francis2014 E. Francis2017 A. Strickler
2012 R. Wallader2015 R. Wallader2018 S. McKinna
  2019 S. McKinna

*N.B. Names are as recorded on the trophy and are not always as recorded elsewhere, thus J for I Phillips and E for G. Schafer.  The champion in 1945, K. Dyer (formerly Tilley), is not recorded.