22-year-old sprinter says his recent 10.23 and 20.50 personal bests are just the beginning
Tesside sprinter Richard Kilty has wasted no time in getting his Olympic qualification out of the way. Less than a week after the ‘current’ qualification period opened and in his first outdoor competition of the year, Kilty scorched to PBs of 10.23 and 20.50 over 100m and 200m at the Sun Angel Classic last weekend in still conditions in Arizona.
His performance in the longer sprint was an Olympic ‘A’ standard, while his 100m run was a ‘B’ standard, just a shade outside the 10.18 ‘A’ qualifier. But with it being just his first run of the season, Kilty will no doubt continue to improve as the season progresses.
In comparison to last year, Kilty opened with 10.8 and 22.0 but ended the season with bests of 10.32 and 20.69.
Kilty’s recent PBs follow the breakthrough he made indoors, where he smashed his 60m PB with 6.61. He had to cut short his indoor season after picking up a slight hamstring problem, but he had been hoping to run much faster.
“I felt I was in shape to run 6.5,” said Kilty of having to pass up the chance to compete at the Aviva Indoor Grand Prix in Birmingham. “I really wanted to send a message to the rest of my competitors to tell them I’m in good shape.”
But outdoors is where it matters most, and fortunately for the 22-year-old he is in the shape of his life.
An English Schools 100m champion in 2006 and 2007, he was captain of the GB team at the 2008 IAAF World Juniors in Bydgoszcz, where he made the semi-finals of his favoured 200m.
But his progress stalled a little as he trained alone in Middlesbrough before moving to London last year to team up with Linford Christie and a group that includes European silver medallist Mark Lewis-Francis.
Earlier this winter he trained in Arizona with Christie’s group. “I’d been running really quick in training but didn’t really know how quick,” he said after his indoor breakthrough. “So I was confident, but just didn’t expect to run that fast in my first race.”
After running lifetime bests last weekend, Kilty tweeted: “Two new PBs and an A standard in my first race. I’m just getting warmed up though, there’s a lot more to come – this is nothing.”
It was a good competition all round for Christie’s training group. Lewis-Francis clocked 10.33 for 100m, while former UK champion Laura Turner posted her fastest ever season openers with times of 11.47 and 23.71.
UK indoor champion Margaret Adeoye continued her impressive breakthrough with a huge 400m PB of 53.43, and European indoor finalist Richard Strachan clocked his best ever 400m season debut with 46.22.
Kilty’s ambition now is to reach the Olympic final in the 200m. If he does, as an Olympian he will be able to get his biggest supporter – his father – a ticket.
Kevin Kilty was a 10.8 sprinter in his youth before turning to bodybuilding and later becoming a bodyguard. But he failed to get any Olympic tickets when he applied last year.
“My dad will get the first ticket if I make the team,” promised Kilty. “He’s funded my athletics career and sacrificed so much.”