Callum Wilkinson demonstrated his resilience as he shaved three seconds off of his British junior 10km road race-walking record in clinching victory at the England Athletics 10km Race Walk Championships, writes Sam Murley.
In the absence of pre-race favourite Tom Bosworth, the Moulton-based ace took full advantage, romping home more than a kilometre ahead of the nearest rival, Guy Thomas, in a record time of 41 minutes and 31 seconds.
But having suffered the first disqualification of his young racing career a week previously at the indoor championships in Sheffield, the 18-year-old stated his latest victory meant more than just another record breaking display.
“I am delighted with the performance,” he said. “For me right now it is all about my development not only physically but mentally as well.
“Last week was not great, being disqualified, but it was an important mental lesson and I’ve shown I can take a big hit and bounce back.
“It was a difficult experience but the most important thing was to respond positively and show I learnt a lesson, which is exactly what I did.
“Sometimes you learn more from the disappointments and the setbacks than you do from the victories and breaking records.
“At the moment it is all about me learning from experiences and moving forward.
“I wasn’t expecting to beat my record, so that is really pleasing, but the most pleasing thing for me is that I showed I also have that mental strength, which is massively important.”
Wilkinson’s performance enhanced his chances at gaining selection for the IAAF Race Walking Challenge in Dudince, Slovakia, in two weeks time with the youngster full of confident of impressing should he be present.
“The meeting will be against the best European juniors but I’m in good shape and if I’m selected I’d be hopeful of going there to get another victory,” he added.