Viscount Southwell Champions Challenge Cup

Champions Challenge Cup for Hurdle Race Presented to the Amateur Athletic Club
by Thomas Arthur Viscount Southwell 9th April 1870

By Dr Jane Ainsworth

Story of the Event

As the image on the trophy indicates, races over 5-bar gates, or hurdles, have a long tradition in Britain. These competitions were invariably held in fields and, as a result, it was not until 1920 that the Amateur Athletic Association rule that hurdling must always take place on grass was revoked.

Many Olympic champions have won this trophy. At the start of the twentieth century American athlete Alvin Kraenzlein secured two championships, as well four gold medals for the 60m, 110m hurdles, 200m hurdles and long jump at the Paris Olympics of 1900. Lord Burghley, representing Great Britain, winner of the longer hurdles event in the Olympics of 1928 appears three times on this trophy, while South African athlete Sidney Atkinson won both this title and Olympic gold in 1928.

Photo credit: Ruth Brennan

Further Olympic success was achieved by British athlete Don Finlay in the 1930s, winning eight AAA titles, as well as Olympic silver and bronze.

No-one would achieve such a period of sustained domination again until the 1970s when Welsh and British athlete Berwyn Price took six successive AAA titles. Fellow Welsh and British athlete Colin Jackson is the current record holder with eleven AAA titles. Winning his first title in 1986, Jackson went on to win Olympic silver, as well as World, European, and Commonwealth titles, setting a long-standing world record in the process. Recent winners, Laurence Clarke and Will Sharman, have maintained Britain’s high standards in this event.

The Donor
One of the original eight trophies presented to winners of the Amateur Athletic Club Championships, the Champions Challenge Cup was presented by Viscount Thomas Southwell (1836-1878).  Southwell served briefly in the army as a Cornet and then Lieutenant of the 13th Hussars, before retiring from military service at the age of 22 in 1858. His involvement in athletics is probably associated with his army career. By 1876 he had been created a Knight of St Patrick and Lord Lieutenant of Leitrim, the Irish family home.

History of the Trophy
AAA champions in the sprint hurdles received this trophy from 1880, when the trophies previously awarded to the winners of the Amateur Athletics Club, precursor to the AAA were inherited from J.G. Chambers. The event was run as the 120 yards until 1968 when conversion to metric meant it became the AAA 110m hurdles. Since 2010 the trophy has been presented to the winner of the English Senior Championships 110m high hurdles. 

Previous Winners*

1866 (T. Milvain)1897 A. Trafford1930 Lord Burghley1967 E. Ottoz
1867 (A. Law)1898 H.R. Parkes1931 Lord Burghley1968 A.P. Pascoe
1868 (W. Tennant)1899 W. Paget Tomlinson1932 D.O. Finlay1969 W. Coetzee 
1869 (G. Nunn)1900 A.C. Kraenzlein1933 D.O. Finlay1970 D. Hemery
1870 J.L. Stirling1901 A.C. Kraenzlein1934 D.O. Finlay1971 A. Pascoe
1871 E.S. Garnier1902 G.W. Smith1935 D.O. Finlay1972 A. Pascoe
1872 J.L. Stirling1903 G.R. Garnier1936 D.O. Finlay1973 B. Price
1873 H.K. Upcher1904 R.S. Stronach1937 D.O. Finlay1974 B. Price
1874 H.K. Upcher1905 R.S. Stronach1938 D.O. Finlay1975 B. Price
1875 H.K. Upcher1906 R.S. Stronach1939 R.J. Brasser1976 B. Price
1876 A.B. Loder1907 O. Groenings1946 P. Braekman1977 B. Price
1877 J.H.A. Reay1908 V. Duncker1947 P. Braekman1978 B. Price
1878 S. Palmer1909 A.H. Healey1948 J.R. Birrell1979 M. Holtom
1879 S. Palmer1910 G.R.L. Anderson1949 D.O. Finlay1980 R. Miltom
1880 G.P.C. Lawrence1911 P.R. O’R Phillips1950 P.B. Hildreth1981 R. Nehemiah
1881 G.P. C. Lawrence1912 G.R.L. Anderson1951 F.J. Parker1982 M. Holtom
1882 S. Palmer1913 G.H. Gray1952 R.H. Weinberg1983 T. Campbell
1883 S. Palmer1914 G.H. Gray1953 P.B. Hildreth1984 N. Walker
1884 C.W. Gowthorpe1915 – No Championship1954 F.J. Parker1985 H. Andrade
1885 C.F. Daft1918 (European War)1955 F.J. Parker1986 C. Jackson
1886 C.F. Daft1919 H.E. Wilson1956 P.B. Hildreth1987 J. Ridgeon
1887 J. Le Fleming1920 C.A. Trowbridge1957 E.P. Kinsella1988 C. Jackson
1888 S. Joyce1921 H. Bernard1958 K.A. St H. Gardner1989 Colin Jackson
1889 C.W. Haward1922 F.R. Gaby1959 V.G. Matthews1990 Colin Jackson
1890 C.F. Daft1923 F.R. Gaby1960 Chulam Riziq1991 David Nelson
1891 D.B. Bulger1924 S.J.M. Atkinson1961 N. Svara1992 Colin Jackson
1892 D.B. Bulger1925 F.R. Gaby1962 B. Lindgren1993 Colin Jackson
1893 G.B. Shaw1926 F.R. Gaby1963 J.L. Taitt1994 A. Tullock
1894 G.B. Shaw1927 F.R. Gaby1964 J.M. Parker1995 (N. Owen)
1895 G.B. Shaw1928 S.J.M. Atkinson1965 J.L. Taitt 
1896 Godfrey Shaw1929 Lord Burghley1966 D.P. Hemery 
2010 L. Clarke2013 W. Sharman2016 D. Omoregie
2011 N. Gayle2014 W. Sharman2017 J. Weaver
2012 M. Hudson2015 B. Reynolds2018 J. Porter
  2019 J. Porter

*N.B. Names are as recorded on the trophy and are not always as recorded elsewhere.  Neil Owen’s name does not appear for his 1995 victory and is bracketed above, as are the very early winners.