14th July 2019
CAPTAIN WILKINSON WINS BRONZE ON FINAL AFTERNOON OF EUROPEAN UNDER-23S
Callum Wilkinson (club: Enfield & Haringey; coach: Andi Drake) delivered a captain’s performance to win bronze in the men’s 20km race walk ahead of the final session for the British team at the European Under-23 Championships in Gavle.
Wilkinson, named co-captain ahead of the Championships starting earlier in the week and having to wait until Sunday to compete, led by example as he walked a strong race on two cards in the afternoon sun in Sweden to claim bronze in 82:13.
As the race strung out, Wilkinson spent most of the final laps of the 1km loop on his own but remained calm and composed and ensured that Eduard Zabuzhenko of the Ukraine would not catch him and would easily remain outside the medals in fourth.
Bronze medallist Wilkinson was joined in the men’s 20km race walk in Gavle by teammate and training partner Cameron Corbishley (Medway & Maidstone; Andi Drake), who grew as the race went on but would find the last few kilometres tough as he placed 12th in 87:07.
Wilkinson’s bronze pushed the British medal tally to nine ahead of the final session at the track this evening and he said: “It was hard for me out there and ultimately I had to be very disciplined and very consistent in that last 10km because I was on two cards. I had to work very hard in that second half but I am very, very happy to come away with a medal.
“I came in ranked second and I said beforehand that I would be disappointed if I didn’t medal. I have come away with a medal so I can’t be too disappointed but I was hoping for a better time and to be a bit more competitive in the final stages – that is very difficult to do on two cards. Lucky for me today I managed to get through and get on the podium and get a medal for my country, which is a great privilege.”
Meanwhile over at the track in the morning, the British women’s 4x100m relay team of Melissa Roberts (Birchfield Harriers; Matt Elias), Alisha Rees (Edinburgh; Leon Baptiste), Hannah Brier (Swansea; Glyn Hawkes) and Shannon Malone (Deeside; Glyn Hawkes) eased into this evening’s final.
On leg one, Roberts got the British team off to a flying start in the second of the women’s 4x100m relay heats with Rees storming down the back straight before handing over to Brier on the bend into Malone who ensured the quartet progressed to the final safely in third in 44.27.
Roberts said: “I felt like I had to set the standard for the girls, I had to get out strongly and set the race up strongly for them. We’re all experienced athletes, we know what we have to do so it was just about making sure we got through, which we did – it’s job done for us.”
Rees added: “The track is really good and I felt like it gave me a lot back. I wanted to make sure we were at least in the top three and also give Hannah the baton in a good position and I think the girls did really well to keep that up.”
The British men’s 4x100m relay team of Dom Ashwell (Shaftesbury Barnet; Marvin Rowe), Oliver Bromby (Southampton), Michael Olsen (Edinburgh; Jonas Dodoo) and Jona Efoloko (Sale Harriers Manchester; Michael Afilaka) followed suit shortly afterwards.
Ashwell and Bromby, both who ran individually, the latter winning 100m silver, ran the first two legs for the British men’s 4x100m relay team in the heats with Olsen on leg three and handing over to Efoloko to bring the quartet home in third in 39.78.
Ashwell said: “We are safely through to the final so we can’t complain too much. The time wasn’t exactly what we were looking for but there is a lot more to improve.”
Olsen added: “I think we are all happy that we are safely through to the final but we all know that we can definitely get faster than that if we fix up the changeovers, so it’s all eyes on the final.”
Action continues this afternoon from 15:45 BST. The timetable for the Championships can be found via https://bit.ly/2JurM5T.
British Athletics medal tally (9):
Shemar Boldizsar – Men’s 200m
Jemma Reekie – Women’s 800m
Ellie Baker – Women’s 800m
Oliver Bromby – Men’s 100m
Cameron Chalmers – Men’s 400m
Piers Copeland – Men’s 1500m
Cameron Fillery – Men’s 110m Hurdles
Emile Cairess – Men’s 10,000m
Callum Wilkinson – Men’s 20km Race Walk