Brits qualify for London 2017 at British Grand Prix of Race Walking in Leeds on Sunday
Roundhay Park in Leeds witnessed an historic day as four British race walkers secured selection for the IAAF World Championships, Ian Richards reports.
Tom Bosworth and Gemma Bridge took the grand prix titles and the British and English titles with Bridge clocking a huge personal best of 92:33 to go No.2 on the UK all-time rankings for the women’s 20km.
Only Jo Atkinson has ever walked faster, while the runner-up, Alana Barber of New Zealand, just missed her own national record with 92:38.
Bridge said: “I am not sure where that performance came from. To win against this field is incredible and I am happy to secure my selection for London and to have four of us secure selection today is incredible! Getting a PB was the icing on the cake, it is going to be one awesome summer!”
Behind them Bethan Davies stormed to a Welsh record of 93:04, the third fastest time ever by a British athlete.
She said: “The support and atmosphere was fantastic and it is great to be part of such a resurgence in British race walking.”
Erica Kelly won the battle for the bronze medal in the British Championships and silver in the England Championships as she took nearly six minutes off her previous best to clock 1:41:27, which moves her to No.4 in the UK list for 2017 and No.11 on the UK-all time rankings. Most importantly it was inside the Isle of Man qualifying time for the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
In the men’s 20km, Leeds-based duo Tom Bosworth and Callum Wilkinson (pictured, above left and right respectively) went to the front from the start on their home turf and soon established a lead ahead of Dominic King and Greek Zacharias Tsamoudakis.
The pair passed 10km in 43:50 and wound up the pace in the second half, walking together until the last 100m when, in a sprint finish, Bosworth took the victory by one second in 84:58 as they both secured their places on the team for London.
Bosworth said: “It was fantastic to take the victory and to secure my selection for London. I can now focus on performing to the best of my ability in London on The Mall. It was great that the Leeds public got behind me today.”
Wilkinson, the world junior champion, said: “This year has been such an amazing set of performances and I am elated to secure my selection to line up on The Mall on August 13 in front of a home crowd.”
Behind them Tsamoudakis pulled away in the second half to clock a PB of 85:31 ahead of King, who clocked a PB of 86:08, which ranks him fourth in the UK in 2017 and moves him to No.19 on the UK all-time list just above his twin brother Daniel who was disqualified in the second half.
In the junior men’s 10km, Tom Partington produced a big PB of 45:10 to move to second on the UK under-20 rankings for 2017.
In the women’s 10km Ana Garcia clocked 51:53 to move to the top of the UK under-17 rankings and to No.3 on the UK under-17 all-time lists.