King ready for Olympic debut
DOMINIC King will this morning become the first member of Colchester Harriers to compete at the Olympics.
King will be amongst a field of 60 to toe the start-line for the 50K race walk, close to Buckingham Palace at 9am.
Ahead of him will be a daunting 25 laps of a 2K course, along the Mall and up a section of Constitution Hill.
King will not be amongst the medal contenders, far from it. He has one of the slowest personal best times in the field, but even so he will be looking to eclipse that personal landmark in front of his home crowd.
“My aim is to beat my PB,” confirmed King, who has a best of 4hrs 06mins 34secs, set in Slovakia in March.
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“That’s got to be my reasonable goal, although obviously a lot will depend on the weather.
“If it is too hot, then it will take the edge off my performance. My first priority is to finish, and finish in a good time.
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“I have the fourth slowest PB, of all the 60 entrants, so in that way I don’t have too much pressure on me.
“The only pressure I have is the goals that I have set myself.”
Colchester-based King, who works at the University of Essex, enjoyed three weeks of altitude training in the Pyrenees last month.
The 29-year-old then spent a few days in Leeds, at the headquarters for British race walking, before moving into the Olympic Village on Wednesday.
A decade ago, as a raw 19-year-old, he represented England at the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester, although he failed to finish the 20K event after being disqualified for three red cards.
However, he is a far more experienced race walker these days, and has significantly improved his technique.
“I’ve worked a lot on my technique,” confirmed King, who does most of his training at the Garrison.
“And the course should suit me, because we go part-way up Constitution Hill, for 100 metres or so. I prefer walking up hills, because I do that a lot in training.
“I would expect the race to be won in about 3hrs 40mins. Personally, I’m hoping to do under four hours, and I aim not to be lapped more than twice.
“This is my first Olympics, so I don’t know quite what to expect, although I have learnt from my experiences of 10 years ago, at the Commonwealth Games. I won’t be over-awed by the occasion.
“I was initially so proud to qualify for the Olympics, and now I want to try and walk fluid and relaxed. It will be better for me to start off steady, rather than fade and die.”
King will be supported by members of his family, including his twin brother and fellow race walker Daniel King, plus several friends and fellow members of Colchester Harriers.
And his biggest fans will be his wife, Jenny, and his daughter Mia.
“Jenny is heavily pregnant, and is due in October, so this is turning into a terrific year for me,” King said.