Record breaker Callum Wilkinson targets World Championships in London

Callum Wilkinson, training on the West Suffolk Arena track in Bury St Edmunds, returned from the Cze

Callum Wilkinson, training on the West Suffolk Arena track in Bury St Edmunds, returned from the Czech Republic yesterday after his record-breaking race walk at the European Cup. - Credit: Archant

Suffolk star athlete, Callum Wilkinson, is now focusing on this summer’s World Championships in London, after blitzing his own British Under-23 record at the European Race Walking Cup, held in Podebrady, Czech Republic, on Sunday.

The 20-year-old race walker, from Moulton, near Newmarket, touched down from his whistle-stop trip to Eastern Europe yesterday afternoon, still buzzing after his wonderful performance in the senior men’s 20K race.

Wilkinson had set a British U-23 best at his first outing over the 20K distance, in Lugano, Switzerland, last March, with an eye-catching time of 1hr 23mins 47secs.

And heads are really beginning to turn, after the former King Edward VI School (Bury St Edmunds) student hacked 90 seconds off his own landmark to finish 10th in Podebrady, in an excellent time of 1:22.17.

Wilkinson was part of the Great Britain squad which finished fourth overall in the team stakes – the quartet also contained Dominic King, of Colchester Harriers, the two-times Olympian over 50K.

“It was a terrific experience, and I actually led the race for a while at the start!” enthused Wilkinson.

“I went off a bit quicker than planned, but I’m delighted with my 10th position in Europe – which sounds great! – and also my time. I’m really, really happy.

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“These are still very early days. This was only my second 20K race, and already I’m down under the 82 minute mark.

“Conditions were warm, but it was a shady course, which helped. And it was great to have some friendly faces out there, because my coach Mick Graham and my mentor Ron Wallwork (gold medallist at the Commonwealth Games in Jamaica, in 1966) were watching on the course.

“Now I’m looking towards the World Championships in London. I’ve already comfortably got the qualifying time, of 84 minutes.

“To be assured of making the squad, I have to finish in the top two at the Trials in Leeds, which take place on June 25. If I finish in the top two, then I will be automatically selected.

“It’s great that we have a major Championships on my doorstep, so early on in my career. It means that family and friends will be able to watch me compete,” added Wilkinson.

Leeds Beckett University student Wilkinson shot to fame when being crowned World Junior champion over 10K in Bydgoszcz, Poland, last July.

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