Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Tom Bosworth selected for the World Championships

With the GB&NI team for the 2015 IAAF World Athletics Championships in Beijing (22 to 30 August) being announced today, we are proud and excited that #Team17 athlete Tom Bosworth has been selected for the team.

Commenting on the team announcement Tom said; "it really was a dream to make a major championships of this level, so now that's a reality, I can dream even bigger. All I can do now is go and race the best that I can and I know that this will put me near the front of the field. This is the biggest race of my life but also a massive stepping stone for the next two years and going on".

Tom is one of 62 athletes selected and British Athletics Performance Director Neil Black commenting on the team said:  “Beijing is a hugely important event to us, yet this is the first of three huge global competitions for us, with the Olympics in Rio next year and the home World championships in 2017.

“In selecting athletes we were looking at either a potential to finish top eight in this year’s Worlds or to give opportunities to athletes developing towards medal success in 2016 and beyond.

“I’m very confident we have selected a team who can be successful in Beijing, as well as use it as a platform onto further Olympic and World successes.”
Tom recently gave an in depth interview to www.trackfield97.com, we are pleased to reproduce the article here in full;

I have never stopped surprising myself and look forward to what I pull out of the bag next”, says Tom Bosworth. The 25-year-old is in good spirits ahead of the IAAF World Championships in Beijing next month, having beaten his own national record in the 5000m race walk at this year’s Sainsbury’s British Championships. He has spoken to TrackField97.com about the challenges he continues to face to gain recognition for his achievements.

After joining Tonbridge Athletics Club as an 11-year-old, it wasn’t until later that the Commonwealth and European athlete attempted race walking. “I joined a running group and tried my hand at a few events. The following year I asked to join my sister and try race walking with coach Peter Selby.” 

“The technique has to be one of the hardest things to master to start with, but as a child I picked it up quickly. I feel from my experience that older athletes may take longer to pick it up. Your fitness and technique do not always develop at the same rate – often leaving a very fit athlete with a weak technique open to being disqualified in a race – or the other extreme of having a strong technique but needing to build fitness and endurance.”

As well as managing the effects of physical development on his performance, Bosworth explains how he adapted to running further once he was no longer a teenager. “Every junior race walker has to step up from 10k to 20k when they turn 20. This is incredibly tough for many athletes. They have to learn an entirely new event. I did struggle with the increased training, and had also moved to the race walking centre in Leeds with a new coach, Andi Drake when I was 19. I may have been in a great set up but my body couldn’t cope.”

He did manage to find some consistency that year, and was rewarded with an 11th place finish at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi, one of several career highlights to date. ”I have broken the 5000m British record three times and this year got the 10k record, each came with an incredible feeling. Last year’s European Athletics Championships in Zurich were awesome. Finishing 12th in such a competitive race was such a great achievement. Unlike other endurance events, Europe is the hotbed, so 12th place was just amazing!”

Continuing his progression, Bosworth secured a second consecutive British title in 2015, clocking the seventh fastest 5000m time in the world this year (19:00.73). This certainly caught the eye of spectators in Birmingham’s Alexander Stadium. “I knew I would more than likely have been racing the 5000m out front on my own, going against the clock, which was the case. The 5000m is often a good indicator of fitness. I had trained really well that week, but felt tired so I just hoped I could make it round for a PB and if I did, it would be an added bonus of bettering my national record, but my main aim was just to win and give race walking a good name in front of a big crowd. 

“What actually happened couldn’t have gone much better! To win and smash my PB and the record by 15 seconds was incredible but I was so frustrated to walk it in 19:00. 18:59 would have looked so much better!” 

Ever the perfectionist, Bosworth has at least been given a great confidence boost heading into the IAAF World Championships next month. “I feel in great shape heading into Beijing, I think my 5000m PB was a clear indicator of that. I am looking forward to heading to altitude in Japan before. It’s nice to escape everything and just focus on sharpening up for a few weeks. It will be my first ever World Championships and I am just honoured to be competing. 

“I won’t be going just to be part of it – I want to say I am one of the best in the world – so getting into the top 20 is the main aim. This will act as a big stepping stone towards my goal of an even higher finish at the Rio Olympic Games next year.

One thing that remains a problem, is finding enough money to train and compete. “There is little or no support when athletes move to university or away from their home club and set up. Leeds is the only place in the UK really. I have also struggled to work with some athletes over the years due to differences in opinion, but this is sometimes just the nature of high level competition. I was a student so lived off a loan as best as I could for the first few years. Now I am trying to make it as a full time athlete living off little sponsorship and no funding. 

“I currently can’t afford to have physio or massage treatment as I have no medical support either and don’t even get any access to the gym or athletics track I train at. I’m a race walker, I will always be overlooked, which is a terrible message to send to the talented juniors we currently have but it is the truth.

“This is why I am doing my up most to change the view of the event and bring it back into mainstream athletics. I have a fantastic team here in Leeds, a great management team behind me, 17 Sports Management, as well as endless support from my family and friends.”

It is this setup that Bosworth hopes will guide him towards overcoming these difficulties and realising his Olympic dream next summer. But, with just nine British athletes taking part in the men’s 5000m final at this year’s British Championships – two as young as 15-years-old – what does the nation’s best think about the current state of his event in the UK? “Over the last few years race walking has picked up massively. For the first time ever we have an athlete in both the boys and girls 10k races at the European Junior Championships this year as well as myself at the World Championships. Just a few years ago, the 5000m, race in Birmingham at the British Championships had to be done as a mixed race.

“For a long time Jo Atkinson was the sole international senior regularly competing at major championships. Now I can join her at that level, giving both the junior girls and boys clear targets to aim for, and importantly those targets are of high level international race walkers. As I develop and get faster, the guys coming through will have to get faster to catch me and raise their level, keeping me on my toes!” For anyone considering trying it out for themselves, Bosworth emphasises the refreshing nature of race walking that sets it apart from other disciplines. “Don’t be afraid to give it a go. Race walking can offer a different experience of athletics to anyone of any age or sporting ability, especially if you come from an athletic background.

“Once the technique is learnt, which may only take a few walks sessions, your aerobic engine will already be developed and so you may find yourself at the front of many big races and national championships, as the depth in walking is nowhere near that of running. Many athletics clubs now have an interest in the walks and so have coaches or judges or will have a contact at other local clubs of other coaches. It’s such a great community to be involved with.”

Facts about Tom Bosworth
Club: Tonbridge Athletics Club
Date of Birth: 17th January, 1990
Lead Coach: Andi Drake

Personal Best Performances:
3000 metres race walk – 11:30.35i – Sainsbury’s British Indoor Championships – Sheffield, UK – 2015
5000 metres race walk – 19:00.73 – Sainsbury’s British Championships – Birmingham, UK – 2015
10 kilometres race walk – 39:36.00 – Molly Barnet Open – Coventry, UK – 2015
20 kilometres race walk – 1:22:20.00 – IAAF Race Walk Challenge – PodÄ›brady, CZE – 2015

Sponsorship support – I am always looking for sponsors who can get in contact through my website www.tombosworth.com.

Current sponsors are: Kent County Council, Randall & Quilter Investment Holdings Ltd., Talbot Validus Group.

Ultimate Goals – My Olympic dream is hopefully only 13 months away from being realised, but I won’t stop there. An international medal is the main aim. Over the last two years or so that dream of winning a medal has changed to be a realistic goal, after all, in the walks most athletes go and continue to win medals well into their late 30s. I’m only 25 – I’ve got many more years yet to surprise myself every day.

Original feature by: Alex Seftel for www.trackfield97.com
You can follow Tom on Twitter @TomBosworth
#TrackAndField #RaceWalk #Beijing2015 #WorldChampionships


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