Suffolk race walker Wilkinson targets European U-23 Championships after strong showing in Lithuania
- Credit: PA Wire/PA Images
The East Anglian duo of Callum Wilkinson and Dominic King were part of the Great Britain squad which won team silver medals at the European Race Walking Cup, held in Alytus, Lithuania, last weekend.
Suffolk athlete Wilkinson, who comes from Moulton near Newmarket, finished ninth in the senior men's 20km race in a time of 1hr 21mins 54secs, with British team-mate Tom Bosworth fourth in 1:20:53 and Cam Corbishley 25th in 1:25:45.
Wilkinson was not far adrift of his personal best, which was set five weeks previously at the European Athletics Race Walking Permit meeting in Podebrady, Czech Republic, where he finished sixth in 1:21:34. That was also a British under-23 record.
The 22-year-old is hoping to duck under 1hr 21mins later this year, because that would secure him a qualifying time for next year's Tokyo Olympics.
"It's been a really positive start to the year for me," enthused Wilkinson, who competes for Enfield & Haringey and has just finished his studies at Leeds Beckett University.
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"I have clocked two sub-1:22s, and having zero cards show that I have a consistency of technique, which is so important.
"I'm proud of my results so far. It has given me a lot of confidence, going into the European Under-23 Championships (in Sweden in July) and the Trials for the World Championships.
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"I just need to finish in the top two in the Trials (at Leeds on June 30) to make the World Championships, because I've already got the qualifying time (1:22:30), and looking ahead I think I can achieve the qualifying time for the Olympics (1:20) over the next 18 months," added Wilkinson.
King, meanwhile, was disqualified during the 20km event in Lithuania, but was still part of the silver-medal squad.
The experienced Colchester Harrier had fared better over the 50K distance at the Dudinska 50K in Dudince, Slovakia, back in March, where he finished 14th in a 3:56:35.
In fact, that was not only the fifth fastest time in the UK all-time list, but also gave him the qualifying time for the World Championships, to be held in Doha later this year.