Essential international experience for England walks team in Switzerland

An England Athletics race walking team competed in Switzerland over the weekend race walk teams for the Lugano Trophy 15th Memorial Mario Albisetti 20km. England Athletics have sent a team to this event for several years now and many athletes have had very successful races.

This year, to continue to provide international race opportunities and experience prior to the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, Tom Bosworth (Coach: Andi Drake, Club: Tonbridge), Callum Wilkinson (Coach: Andi Drake, Club: Enfield & Haringey) and Erika Kelly (Coach: Steve Partington, Club: Northern (Isle of Man)) and Cameron Corbishley (Coach: Andi Drake, Club: Medway & Maidstone) made up the 20km team.

Women’s 20 km

England’s Erika Kelly who will represent the Isle of Man in the Commonwealth Games, became only the 10th British woman to break the 100 minute barrier for 20km, as she clocked a new Manx Record and took two minutes off her PB with her first sub 1:40:00 clocking in 1:39:36 in 7th place. She passed the halfway mark in 49:32. This moved her to 9th on the UK All Time list. In a historic day for British race walking, this was the first time that 3 British women have broken 100 minutes for 20km in the same race.The race sets her up nicely for the Commonwealth Games - it was her first race outside the UK and she manged the whole experience very professionally and will take a big confidence boost from her performance.

Men’s 20 km

Tom Bosworth fresh from his World Indoor best in Glasgow over 3000 metres two weeks ago, warmed up for the Commonwealth Games by testing himself over 20 Kilometres in Switzerland - this is the distance he will race on The Gold Coast in 4 weeks time. In very cold and wet conditions, Bosworth was locked in a race long battle with Japanese duo Koki Ikeda and Masatora Kawano. Bosworth passed the halfway mark with the lead pack in 40.50. The leading trio battled it out, and Tom came back from third place in the final kilometre to bag second place in 1:21:28 - his 4th best time in poor conditions, splitting Japanese pair Koki Ikeda (1:21:26) and Masatora Kawano (1:21:31). This was the closest finish in the race’s history. Importantly, this was Bosworth’s first 20km since the 2017 World Championships where he was disqualified. This time around he received no red cards and heads to the Gold Coast in good form, both technically and physically. His time is also inside the British Athletics Qualification standards for the European Athletics Championships and 2018 IAAF World Race Walking Team Championships

Tom said, “This was an opportunity to practice my race tactics, but I just left it too late to take the victory. It was so cold and wet today, I am looking forward to racing in much warmer conditions on The Gold Coast."

Callum Wilkinson and Cameron Corbishley were disqualified - Wilkinson late in the race, after working through a poor patch around half way when he received two red cards, he picked up a third at 17km to end his race.

Team Coach, Andi Drake, said, "It was a strong day from a British perspective, with two podium finishes and progression from Tom and Erika in the England Team. For the disqualified athletes, they should look to Bethan Davies, DQed last year - she worked hard on technique, nutrition and confidence as well as fitness and was our top finisher in the World Championships and made her first podium this weekend."

Click here for full results

Thanks to Ian Richards and Andi Drake for the report