Race walker Dominic King looks forward to his Olympics debut
DOMINIC King celebrated confirmation of his selection for this summer’s Olympics by jetting off to the south of France this week.
But the Colchester-based race walker was not heading off on his holidays – instead of relaxing on a beach, he will be spending the next three weeks training at altitude.
King was understandably overjoyed to be included in Great Britain’s 77-strong athletics squad, for the London Games, although it would have been a far bigger shock if he been left off the list.
The Colchester Harrier was the only Briton to achieve the Olympic qualifying standard for the 50K race walk, so he was expecting to be given the nod by the selectors.
Even so, you can never be sure until the news becomes official.
And King suffered a sleepless night on Monday, when the selectors failed to inform him of his inclusion, as promised, before the following day’s public announcement of the squad.
“It’s great news, but my first feelings were one of relief,” explained King from his French training base in the Pyrenees.
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“The selectors assured me that I would be told the day before the announcement, but I wasn’t told anything, and I feared that that was not a very good sign!
“It was a worrying night, especially as part of my selection requirement was coming out to France on this trip.
“But obviously I was delighted, when I was told of my selection, and I feel very proud that I will be representing my country at the home Olympics.
“It is a dream come true,” added King.
King achieved the Olympic qualifying time, of sub 4hrs 09mins, as early as March, but he still had to wait nervously for three months before having his selection rubber-stamped this week.
The 29-year-old endurance athlete, who works at the University of Essex, and does most of his training on the roads around the Colchester Garrison, posted an impressive 4.06.34 at the Dudinska 50K in Dudince, Slovakia.
That cracking time hacked a healthy seven minutes off his previous best (4.14.55), which had been set 12 months earlier at the same venue.
King continued: “That PB was a massive result for me, and I still think there is a better performance to come. I’m hoping that will come out at the Olympics.
“It will be great to be involved, because being in this country there will be a real buzz about the Olympics.
“Even though I have had to wait a long time, to have my selection confirmed, I’ve tailored my training by assuming that I was going to be chosen,” added King.
For the next three weeks, King will be training in the Pyrenees, at an altitude of 1,800m above sea level, in preparation for his 50K race walk, which will take place on Saturday, August 11, at 9am outside Buckingham Palace.
“I’m looking forward to the training, as part of the GB endurance group,” said King.
“I’m here with all the marathon runners and 10K runners, and also our other race walker, Jo Jackson.
“The costs are covered by UK Athletics, because I am now a member of the Olympic team, and it feels very good to say that!
“Ever since 2001, when I became an international athlete, I have been targeting the Olympics. That has been my goal for the last 10 or 11 years.
“I was still really too young, in 2004, so 2008 (Beijing) was my first real opportunity.
“My (twin) brother Daniel achieved the qualifying time for the 2008 Olympics, but was not taken, and for a while I thought that I might potentially end up in the same position.
“But my results have proved that I deserve to be competing in London, and I feel very honoured to be going there, and of course to be representing the town of Colchester,” added King.