Bosworth and Davies back to competing on home soil at England and British Championships
Leeds Roundhay Park will be the venue for the British Grand Prix of Race Walking 20km that incorporates the England Athletics Championships, the British Championships and the British Team Trial event for the European Athletics Championships. It will also be a homecoming event for England’s Commonwealth silver medallist Tom Bosworth (Club: Tonbridge / Leeds Beckett Uni, Coach: Andi Drake) who will be competing on home soil for the first time since his success on the Gold Coast and will start as favourite.
Leeds-based Tom will be looking to build on his magnificent British Record of 79.38 he set in the Commonwealth Games, where he became the first British athlete to break the 80 minutes barrier. Bosworth visited the Pit Lane during last month’s IAAF World Race Walking Team Championships in Taicang in China, resulting in them finishing 14th. Tom broke the World Best for 3000m indoors in the Muller Grand Prix in Glasgow in February and will be using the race to fine tune his preparations for a tilt at a medal in Berlin in August. He has won the previous two editions of the British Grand Prix of Race Walking. Bosworth said, "It will be great to be able to perform on my home patch again after spending so much time in Australia for the Commonwealths, and China for the IAAF World Race Walking Team Championships. It will be great to compete in front of my family, friends and training partners."
His main competition for the England title will come from training partner Callum Wilkinson (Club: Enfield & Haringey, Coach: Andi Drake) who 7th in the Commonwealth Games clocking 82.35, just outside his personal best, but had to sit out Taicang due to an illness. Cameron Corbishley (Club: Medway & Maidstone, Coach: Andi Drake) fresh from a block of training at the Australian Institute of Sport and winning the Under 23 Title over 10,000 metres in the track at Bedford on Sunday will be targeting to revise his current pb of 86.00 and targeting the Berlin qualifying time of 85.00. Welsh athlete Guy Thomas (Club: Tonbridge, Coach: Martin Rush) will be looking to return to the form of 2017 that saw him clock a personal best of 88.38. Slovakian duo Miroslav Uradnik who has a personal best of 85.20 and Dominik Cerny (87.41) will also be in the mix in the British Grand Prix.
In the Women’s 20km, Leeds-based Gemma Bridge (Club: Oxford City / Leeds Beckett Uni, Coach: Mark Wall) will start as favourite for the England Title. She was was victorious last year in taking the British Grand Prix Title in a personal best of 92.33. Gemma was 5th on the Gold Coast and clocked a season's best 95.43 when finishing 53rd in Taicang. Also lining up in the England Championships will be Erika Kelly (Club: Northern AC (Isle of Man), Coach: Steve Partington) who finished 9th in the Gold Coast representing the Isle of Man. She will be looking to improve her PB of 99.36 set in Lugano in March. She was the runner up to Wales' Heather Lewis (Club: Pembrokeshire, Coach: Martin Bell) in the British 10km Championships in Coventry last month.
Wales' Commonwealth medallist Bethan Davies (Club: Cardiff / Leeds Uni, Coach: Andi Drake) will start as favourite for the British Championships. Bethan will look to build on her magnificent bronze medal on the Gold Cost in a season that has also seen her move to number 2 on the UK All Time list when clocking 91.53 in Lugano in March. She will be looking to regain the British Grand Prix and British titles from Gemma Bridge. Bethan's Welsh compatriot Heather Lewis (Club: Pembrokeshire, Coach: Chris Jones) who was 7th in the Commonwealth Games also has the British Athletics European standard of 97.00 when she set a personal best of 96.14 in Lugano that moved her to 5th on the UK All Time list. Slovakian Monika Hornakova has a personal best of 99.53.
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 9.30am with the winners expected to cross the finish line at around 10.50am.
For more details visit the event website at https://sites.google.com/site/britishgrandprixofracewalking/home or follow @Leedswalk on Twitter for live updates