8th April 2018
BOSWORTH & DAVIES BAG FIRST HOME NATIONS ATHLETICS MEDALS
Team England’s Tom Bosworth (Club: Tonbridge, Coach: Andi Drake) and Team Wales’ Bethan Davies (Cardiff, Drake) picked up the home nations’ first athletics medals of the Commonwealth Games in the men’s and women’s 20km Race Walk finals.
Bosworth set a new British record and secured a new personal best as he claimed the first athletics medal of the Commonwealth Games for the home nations, winning silver in the men’s event.
The 28-year-old was in medal contention throughout and was leading from home favourite Dane Bird-Smith heading into the final lap, only for Bird-Smith to edge him to gold in a new games record of 1:19:34.
Bosworth’s time of 1:19:38 broke his previous British record for the 20km Race Walk, set in Rio in 2016. His fellow countryman, Callum Wilkinson (Enfield & Haringey, Drake), finished his debut Commonwealth Games in seventh place, recording a time of 1:22:35.
In the women’s race, a disqualification for Australia’s Claire Tallent within the final two kilometres promoted Davies into third place and she produced a composed performance to secure the bronze.
Jemima Montag took the gold medal in 1:32:50 to complete a double for the host nation, with New Zealand’s Alana Barber second in 1:34:18.
Davies, who was never outside the top six throughout the race, recorded a time of 1:36:08 in sweltering conditions on the Breachfront.
“I’m so pleased with this medal,” a jubilant Bosworth said after winning silver. “To be up there with Dane (Bird-Smith) – he’s a really good mate so I’m really pleased for him. The noise was insane; the race was brilliant fun so it must have been a great moment for him. It certainly was for me.
“With 600m to go, I thought I had a good shout for the gold. But that’s home crowd advantage. It lifted him and carried him towards the line. The adrenaline was incredible for me so I can’t even imagine what it was like for him.
“I didn’t think it would be sub 1:20 but that is all thanks to my coach Andi Drake who has got me in the best shape for these Games. It is a national record but to get under 1:20 is just something else I have been targeting for a long time.
“After getting disqualified while leading at the World Championships last year it was an incredibly emotional final lap for me. So to put that to bed and win the silver is just brilliant.”
Wilkinson added: “It was a great experience for me. The crowd were brilliant so it was the perfect atmosphere to compete in. I started well and was walking well just behind the lead pack. I just had to be patient and I think that is what I am most proud of.
“Seventh and close to a PB; so I am very pleased. I’m the youngest athlete in the field by five years so I am beyond happy with the result. Give me four years and I’ll be well up the pack and chasing for medals.
“Well done to Tom and coach Andi; they’ve worked so hard for this after the disappointment of last year so I’m very happy for them.”
Davies had stuck to her race plan throughout and looked on course for fourth position, only for the disqualification of the leader Tallent to change the field.
“Not many people know about race-walking, I’m so glad to put it on the map,” Davies said after securing bronze.
“I knew she (Tallent) had a few warnings. I was just waiting for my opportunity.”
Davies’ fellow countrywoman Heather Lewis (Pembrokeshire, Martin Bell) came home in seventh in 1:41:45, with Team England’s Gemma Bridge (Oxford AC, Mark Wall) fifth in 1:39:31. The Isle of Man’s Erika Kelly (Northern AC, Steve Partington) finished ninth in 1:47:29.