Leeds Beckett race walkers looking to secure places for the London World Athletics Championships
21 June 2017 - Ian Richards
Leeds Beckett students and alumni race walkers are looking to secure places on the British Team for London World Athletics Championships this weekend.
This Sunday Roundhay Park will be the venue for the British Grand Prix of Race Walking. Alumni Tom Bosworth and current students Callum Wilkinson and Gemma Bridge will look to secure the opportunity to represent Great Britain in Wold Athletics Championships in London in August. The 20 km event is the British Championships and doubles as the British Team Trial event for the World Athletics Championships. The event has attracted a strong international entry with athletes from New Zealand, Ireland, Mauritius, South Africa, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Latvia, Slovenia, Hungary, Greece and Cyprus.
Leeds Becket Alumni Tom Bosworth finished a magnificent 6th in the Rio Olympic Games and will be looking to secure his place on the British Team for London. Bosworth who is coached by Dr Andi Drake, the Head Coach at the National Race Walking Centre which is based at Leeds Beckett University, has made a fine start to the 2017 season finishing 2nd in the IAAF Race Walking Challenge in Rio Maior in Portugal in April. He was just outside the medals in the European Cup Race Walking in Podebrady in the Czech Republic when finishing 4th in May. Bosworth is the British Record holder with the 80:13 he set in Rio last year. Leeds Beckett student and reigning World Junior Champion, Callum Wilkinson who is studying on the BA (Hons) Sports Business Management course, has made a great transition to the senior ranks, culminating in a magnificent 10th place in last month’s European Cup Race Walking, where he clocked 82:17. Both Bosworth and Wilkinson are well inside the British Athletics qualifying time of 84.00 and therefore need to finish in the top 2 British athletes to secure their place on the team for London.
Leeds Beckett PhD Student Gemma Bridge will look to secure her place on the British team in London. Gemma has made the transition from good standard distance runner to international race walker over the last 12 months. A move to Leeds in February to study for a PhD in health and business and the chance to train at the National Race Waling Centre, has seen her make her debut over 20km in March in Switzerland and improve to finish a magnificent 14th in the European Race Walking Cup clocking 94.24 on her Great Britain debut. Bethan Davies who is on the athlete roster at the National Race Walking Centre set her personal best of 93:48 at the Olympic Trials staged at Woodhouse Moor last year. She finished just behind Bridge in the European Cup in 22nd place. Both have walked well inside the British Athletics qualifying time of 96.00 and just need to finish in the top 2 Brits to secure selection. Making a welcome return to compete in Leeds is New Zealand’s Alana Barber who has a personal best of 92.23. She finished 35th in last year’s Olympic Games. Barber spent 2 years between 2012 and 2014 living and training in Leeds at the National Race Walking Centre. Erica Kelly has spent the last 2 months based at National Race Walking Centre and will be targeting the Isle of Man qualifying time for the Commonwealth Games.
The event is being organised by Leeds Beckett staff members Dr Ian Richards a Senior Lecturer in the Carnegie School of Sport and Dr Andi Drake. It is also forming part of an IAAF funded biomechanics research project being led by Senior Lecturer in Biomechanics Dr Brian Hanley.
Speaking ahead of the event Tom Bosworth said “It is great to be able to compete on home soil in Leeds at such a great venue. It would be great to have the Leeds public come along and support us”.
The event is free for spectators and the course is a 500 metres out and back loop on the Carriage Drive alongside Waterloo Lake. The action gets underway at 9.30 with the winners expected to cross the finish line at 10.50.