Women’s Amateur Athletic Association 100 Yard Championship Challenge Cup, presented by A.G. Spalding Bros.

By Dr Jane Ainsworth

Photo credit: David Rowan

History of the Event

The 100 yards was one of six events contested in 1922, the year of the Women’s Amateur Athletic Associations creation, although the first championships had to wait, with this trophy, for the following year. The prizes that year were awarded by Baroness Orczy, writer of The Scarlet Pimpernel, and Lord Hawke, a member of the WAAA Executive Committee and English test cricketer. Three were won by Mary Lines, all in world record times. British athletes, such as Rose Thompson (later Gillis), continued to set world best times and dominate the International Women’s Games held in Monte Carlo and Paris during the inter-war years.

The first women’s British Olympic medal for the 100 yards was won at the 1948 London Olympics by Dorothy Manley who took silver behind quadruple gold medallist, Dutch athlete Fanny Blankers-Koen. Dorothy Hyman, winner of this trophy four times between 1959 and 1963, won Olympic silver in Rome 1960 and Commonwealth golds in 1962 in both the 100 yards and 220 yards. Other notable athletes to win this trophy four times include Eileen Hiscock in the 1930s, Winnie Jeffrey (later Jordan) in the 1930s-40s, Olympic, World, Commonwealth, and European medallist, Kathy Smallwood (later Cook) between 1978 and 1984, and Paula Dunn who won four years in a row between 1986-1989. 

Unlike the men’s equivalent, there have been relatively few overseas winners of the WAAA 100 yards Championship. A notable exception was Chi Cheng, Taiwanese athlete and winner of two WAAA titles; in 1969 she defeated Dorothy Hyman in the 100m and also won the sprint hurdles. The 1965 champion, Polish athlete Irina Kirszenstein, was another formidable opponent, having won a gold and two silver medals in the Tokyo Olympics of 1964.

Arguably, WAAA 100m champions have fared better in teams than as individuals on the international stage. Great Britain and Northern Ireland have won medals in eight Olympic 4 x 100m relays, with no fewer than thirteen WAAA champions being involved.

The Donors

A.G. Spalding Bros, the donors of this trophy, were a prominent firm making sporting equipment at the start of the twentieth century. They were responsible for the 1920s equivalent of the Telstar football, the Orb, as well as midget dimple golf balls. Well before today’s advances in sports science they were carrying out tests on different types of golf balls at the All England Club, Wimbledon. Their sponsorship of one of the earliest WAAA trophies demonstrates the opportunities they perceived in associating themselves with sporting innovations.

A recurring theme in Spalding’s success was their understanding of the benefits of associating themselves with sporting and national causes in the popular consciousness. They contributed to the Mansion House Relief Fund for relatives of those drowned on the Titanic in 1912 and to a national memorial to King George V in 1936. Along with Slazenger, they also contributed £105 (a good sum at the time) to the fund, ‘to raise the standards of physical efficiency of the youths of the nation’, after Great Britain & Northern Ireland’s relatively disappointing performance at the 1912 Stockholm Olympics. Two years later they advertised a special train, complete with Pullman dining car, for those wishing to attend the Open Golf Championships at Sandwich.

History of the trophy

WAAA champions in the 100 yards (1922-1932; 1952-1967) or 100 metres (1933-1951; 1968-1995) received this trophy from 1923. Since 2010 the trophy has been presented to the winner of the English Senior Championships 100m. Names are recorded as on inscribed on the trophy, thus K Cornelissen for Johanna in 1967 and Betty Locke (1938-9) appears elsewhere as Lock.

Previous Winners*

1923 Miss M. Lines1951. J. Foulds1973 A. Lynch
1924. Miss E. Edwards1952. H.J. Armitage1974. R. Boyle
1925. Miss R.E. Thompson1953 A. Pashley1975 A. Lynch
1926. Miss F. C. Haynes1954. A. Pashley1976 A. Lynch
1927. Miss E. Edwards1955. S.M. Francis1977 S. Lannaman
1928. Miss M. Gunn1956. J. Paul1978 K. Smallwood
1929. Miss I. K. Walker1957. H. Young1979 H. Hunte
1930. Miss E.M. Hiscock1958. M. Weston1980 K. Smallwood
1931. Miss N. Halstead1959 D. Hyman1981 W. Hoyte
1932. Miss E. Johnson1960 D. Hyman1982 W. Hoyte
1933. Miss E.M. Hiscock1961 J. Smart1983 K. Cook
1934. Miss E.M. Hiscock1962 D. Hyman1984 K. Cook
1935 Miss E.M. Hiscock1963. D. Hyman1985 H. Oakes
1936. Miss B. Burke1964. D. Arden1986 P. Dunn
1937. Miss W. Jeffrey1965. I. Kirszenstein1987 P. Dunn
1938. Miss B. Locke1966. D. Slater1988 P. Dunn
1939 Miss B. Locke1967. K. Cornelissen1989 P. Dunn
1945 W.S. Jordan. Birchfield H1968. Val Peat1990 S. Douglas
1946 Miss M. Gardner1969. C. Cheng1991 E. Ashford
1947. W. Jordan1970. A. Neil1992 M. Gainsford
1948. W. Jordan1971. S. Berto1993 B. Kinch
1949. S. Cheeseman1972. Della Pascoe1994 K. Merry
1950. J. Foulds 1995 P. Thomas
2010 A. Foster2013 A. Philip2016 R. Johncock
2011 L. Turner2014 A. Philip2017 D. Walker
2012 L. Bloor2015 L. Bloor2018 K. Baptiste
  2019 K. Baptiste