Callum Wilkinson has 'one eye' on the Olympic Games in Tokyo as he prepares for European Race Walking Cup
Callum Wilkinson is in good form heading into the weekend’s European Race Walking Cup, so much so that he is not completely ruling out securing himself a place at next year’s Olympic Games.
The Moulton athlete heads to the event in Lithuania on the back of setting a new personal 20km best and a British under-23 record of 81 minutes and 34 seconds in Podebrady, Czech Republic, last month.
And with preparation in Switzerland having gone to plan, Wilkinson is now looking at a time of sub 81 minutes, which in turn would rubber stamp his spot at Tokyo 2020.
“Everything has been going really well,” said the 22-year-old. “It has been a few weeks since Podebrady and I was very happy with my performance and the result.
“I feel in good shape and if I could go sub-81 that gets me qualified for the Olympics without having to rely on the ranking system.
“It is possible, but there is also still plenty of time to get there. Five weeks ago I was under the time at the 12km mark, so it shows I am not too far away.
“You can never truly predict it beforehand because you do not know what type of race it is going to be. If it is a slow race then it will not be possible, and it becomes more about the result.
“The Olympics is getting closer all the time and while there is plenty more to come before that – including the World Champs – you always have one eye on it.”
As well as competing on an individual basis this weekend, Wilkinson’s performance will count towards Team GB’s place in the overall standings.
He is one of four Brits set to feature in the men’s senior race alongside three female athletes and one junior.
“It is a really high quality competition. I am ranked in the top 10 in Europe right now and I finished 10th a couple of years ago,” added Wilkinson.
“I have moved my personal best on since then and so I must be looking for in and around the top 10 again.
“If I can do that then it will mean some decent points for the team.
“From a team point of view if everyone can perform to their standards, and maybe a couple of us go even better, then we have a good outside chance of a medal.”