Callum Wilkinson aiming to win a medal at the European Athletics Under-23 Championships
Moulton’s Callum Wilkinson is well aware that there will be no hiding place for him at this weekend’s European Athletics Under-23 Championships.
The 22-year-old heads into the 20K race walk in Gavle, Sweden, ranked second behind Russian Vasiliy Mizinov, whose personal best time over that distance is more than two minutes quicker than Wilkinson’s.
Nevertheless, while bridging the gap to the Authorised National Athlete may be a tall order, the expectation is that the former Moulton Primary School pupil will return from the event with a medal.
“I am ranked second and I cannot hide that fact. I cannot play the role of the outsider,” said Wilkinson, who is co-captain of the British Athletics team alongside Morgan Lake.
“That brings with it some pressure but it is a challenge I am looking forward to taking on.
“The number one ranked walker has done a one hour, 18-minute this year and so it is going to be tough, but if I am being truthful I would be very disappointed with anything less than a medal.
“I would never take anything for granted, but that shows where I feel like I am at the moment and the belief I have in myself.
“If I produce my best performance and race to my ability then a medal is very achievable.”
Wilkinson will head into the event buoyed by his recent victory in the British Grand Prix of Race Walking in Leeds, where he became the first Brit to topple world number 18 and Commonwealth Games silver medallist Tom Bosworth on home soil in a number of years.
It was a result that also ensured Wilkinson of a place in the Doha-hosted World Athletics Championships, which take place in September and October of this year.
“It was a big victory. Tom has not been beaten for a long time so to be able to do that – and not in a Mickey Mouse competition – is very pleasing,” he added.
“I was 11 seconds outside my PB but I still feel I had a bit more to give at the end so that is an incredible marker.
“It is a real confidence booster and there is more to come, which I am eager to prove in Sweden and beyond.”