13th August 2017
HEARTBREAK FOR BOSWORTH IN FESTIVAL OF RACE WALKS
There was heartbreak for Tom Bosworth the Men’s 20km Race Walk as he was disqualified at the World Championships in London while leading the race at The Mall.
On a hot day at the picturesque course on The Mall, the 27-year-old set a blistering pace that very few of his rivals could keep up with.
With huge support from the home crowd, it appeared that Bosworth was destined for a podium spot as he showed the same form that saw him set a one-mile walk world record at the Anniversary Games at the London Stadium in June.
Looking to better his sixth place finish at the Rio 2016 Olympics, he maintained his form as the crowd cheered him on but there was huge disappointment all-round as he was shown three red cards for technique infractions just after the halfway mark while leading the pack.
“Today I felt great, I felt in control, I was testing the pace myself,” he said.
“So it shows I’m fit enough, but you know that’s race walking. Technique has to go with fitness, and today I was going at a speed I’ve never ever gone before. So there are positives to take from this and as I said it’s part of the event.
“Everything seemed to be going fine, then I got to about 12km and within that last lap I picked up two red cards; three and you are out. I had one earlier on, but I thought ‘concentrate, concentrate.’ I guess I put in a little burst, I really opened up my stride, but again I thought that I felt strong. I normally know when I’m pushing the boundaries and when I’m not. So it was a real shock. Three red cards all for lifting, and you’re out.
“It is my first DQ in four and a half years, so I’m gutted it’s happened here on The Mall. My fitness has moved on, it’s really exciting for years to come. Every best athlete has been disqualified and had bad days, that’s why the good days feel so damn good.”
Compatriot Callum Wilkinson, who was crowned World Junior champion over 10K in Poland last year, was the remaining Brit and produced a strong performance to finish 41st in 1:23:54.
“It was really tough out there today, not quite the performance I had hoped – I was in a lot better shape than that, but an amazing experience for me to be out there at a home Championships with one of the biggest crowds I think we’ve ever had is phenomenal, so a lot of lessons to be taken away from today,” said the 20-year-old.
In the Women’s 20km Race Walk, Bethan Davies was the first Brit to cross the line as she finished 29th in 1:33:10.
“I’m absolutely over the moon,” she said.
“Conditions are really hot today, so when I got on the start line I was like ‘Just keep it going, we’ll see what happens.’ But to be so close to my PB, the crowds are amazing. So to perform like that, I just can’t believe it to be honest.
“Every step I took there were people shouting my name. All my friends and family were here, so that was the best experience I’ve ever had when it comes to racing.”
Compatriot Gemma Bridge was not far behind as she finished 40th in 1:36:04.
“It’s my first major Championships – previous to this I’ve only done European races,” she said. My preparation was pretty good but I was training on my own quite a little bit so that’s not ideal.
“The Commonwealths will be next goal and I still think I could push for medals if I can keep up my training and get a little bit stronger.”
In their first Race Walk for the day, Dominic King was on track for a personal best in the 50km but was disqualified by the judges at the halfway stage for incorrect technique.
“It was really good to have home support and it was an iconic setting. Conditions were okay for 50k but today it was technique that was holding me back because I was fit enough to do the time.
“It is something I have been working on. Unfortunately sometimes my hips tighten up which causes my body position to be in the wrong placement to straighten my legs. It is a problem I have had for many years and it is something we have tried different ways to address.
“We will go back to the drawing board and have a look to see what we can do to correct the technique so I can get the most out of myself.
“I did well to get here but I didn’t want to come here and just walk round at the back. I was pleased I was inside my personal best pace. I am just disappointed that the judges didn’t think the technique was up to scratch, which is fair enough.”