19th May 2020
ON THIS DAY....MEN'S 20KM RACE WALKERS MAKE HISTORY AT EUROPEAN CUP
12 months ago today on the 19th May, history was made as Great Britain and Northern Ireland won their first ever medal at the European Athletics Race Walking Cup, securing team silver in the men’s 20 kilometre race.
Heading out onto the course in Alytus, Lithuania, the British quartet knew they had an excellent chance of reaching the podium as they entered the biennial event with its strongest ever team.
Tom Bosworth – sixth at the 2016 Olympic Games – led the way in the early exchanges, while teammates Callum Wilkinson and Cameron Corbishley started steadily before really showing their endurance in the latter stages of the contest.
The fourth team member, Dom King, was unfortunately disqualified shortly after the 12km mark, so this put the onus on the three remaining Britons to complete the race to count towards the final team standings.
Sweden’s Perseus Karlström took the lead in the closing stages of the race and Bosworth found himself fifth on the final circuit, but recovered well after rolling his ankle, to match his fourth-place finish from 2017.
With a high finish already secured, all eyes from the British camp were now on Wilkinson as he powered around the final circuit to finish in ninth place overall in 1:21:54, an excellent position against Europe’s finest race walkers for the 22-year-old.
Cameron Corbishley – also 22 at the time – produced some tremendous last laps to secure 25th position which clinched the silver medal for the team. He also set a personal best mark of 1:25:45 in the process. Corbishley would also qualify for the 50km race walk at the World Athletics Championships later that year, marking a fine season for the Medway and Maidstone athlete.
Bosworth said after the race: “I felt so good today I really thought I would win a medal. I walked 3:57 for the lap they caught me. I rolled my ankle at the point when I was fighting for the bronze medal. I battled back on the last two laps and I’m gutted to finish fourth again, but the team medal makes up some of my personal disappointment.”
The event in Lithuania preceded a very strong year for British race walking with notable results coming for Bosworth who would finish seventh at the world championships in challenging conditions, and Callum Wilkinson who won bronze at the European U23 Championships over the 20km distance.
You can watch highlights of the 2019 European Athletics Race Walking Cup here.