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UK Athletics

Daphne Arden/Slater

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Full Name: Daphne Arden. (Later Mrs Slater)

Date of Birth: 29 December 1941

Born: Birkenhead.

Club: Birchfield Harriers

Coach: Bill Marlow.


Career summary


Birchfield Star

In the history of British athletics, Birchfield Harriers, the Birmingham club based at the Alexander Stadium, have produced countless Olympic medallists and one of those from the 1964 Games in Tokyo was Daphne Arden, a sprinter who, though she did not know it at the time, was involved in one of the sport’s most controversial races. She had begun sprinting and long jumping at school and joined Birchfield in 1959 and though winning a bronze in the 4 x 100m in Japan was the crowning moment of her career, by then she was already a world record-holder.


Indoor Gold

Before World War II, the Women’s Amateur Athletic Association’s Indoor Championships had become an established part of the winter programme after they were launched in 1935. They were halted after 1939, when war had broken out, but brought back in 1962. The venue remained Wembley and Arden became the star of the 60-yards event where she won gold in that year, in 1963, in 1964 and then, as Daphne Slater, in 1966, when the event had moved to RAF Cosford, and on every occasion she triumphed with the same hand-timed mark of 7.1 seconds.


Two medals

Arden had made her international debut in 1961 and the following year proved to be one of the most successful of her career. After winning that first indoor title, she progressed to achieve relay medals at the British Empire and Commonwealth Games in Perth and the European Championships in Belgrade, while being ranked eighth in the world at 100m and 10th at 200m.


Record breaker

On August 5, 1963, at the White City track in London, Arden entered the world record books. Combining with Madeleine Cobb, Mary Rand and Dorothy Hyman, she ran the third leg of the 4 x 110y relay in a match against the USA and Britain’s victory in 45.2 was the quickest of all time. Twelve months, with Janet Simpson replacing Cobb on the first leg, the British women set a national 4 x 100m relay record when they were third in the Olympic final in Tokyo in 44.09 as Poland won gold in 43.69 and the USA took silver in 43.92. But, though no one was aware of it at the time, the race became shrouded with drama over the next three years when Ewa Klobukowska, who had run the anchor leg for Poland, became the first athlete to fail a sex test. She was ruled ineligible for the European Cup women's track and field competition in 1967 and the following year the IAAF took away the Olympic gold and bronze medals she had won in Japan. Klobukowska had failed the chromosome test, even though she later she gave birth to a girl.


International Championships


1962: 4th 100m & 200m, 3rd 4x100m Europeans; 5th 100y, sf 220y, 2nd 4x110y Commonwealth Games

1964: sf 100m, 8th 200m, 3rd 4x100m Olympics; sf 100m, 8th 200m, 3rd 4x100m Europeans

1966: 8th 100y, sf 220y, 2nd 4x110y Commonwealth Games; sf 100m, 6t 4x100m Europeans

UK Internationals: 22 (1961-6)

National Championships


Won WAAA 100y 1964, 1966; 220y 1964; Indoor 60y 1962-4, 1966.


Personal bests

100y 10.6 (1964), 10.5w (1966); 100m 11.5A, 11.55Aw (1964); 200m 24.01A (1964). 220y 23.6 (1964), 400y 57.9 (1966)

Indoors: 60y 6.9 (European best, 1962), 60m 7.4 (1963)