Tearful Leeds athlete Tom Bosworth cursed the harsh penalties of his event after his bid to win Great Britain a first global medal in race walking ended in disqualification at the World Championships in London yesterday.
Bosworth, a former Leeds Beckett University student who still trains in the city, cut a distraught figure on the Mall as he was pulled out of the 20km walk when leading with a third of the race to go.
The 25-year-old had gone into the race harbouring hope of adding to the Britain’s tally of four medals having finished sixth at the 2016 Olympics and broken the world record over one mile in race walking’s Diamond League debut in London last month. However, his hopes of becoming a trailblazer for the event ended in tears as he incurred three red-card penalties for failing to adhere to the strict policies towards heel placement on each stride.
“I was feeling great and walking faster than I ever have done. But that’s race walking, technique has to go with fitness,” Bosworth said.
“I felt fit and strong enough to go with the leading pack. It is heart wrenching because you can’t physically finish a race as you are pulled off the course.
“I haven’t been disqualified for four and a half years so to do it here in London is devastating. But this has only made me hungrier for more. These bad days make the good days even sweeter.”
Colombia’s Eider Arévalo won the race.
Neutralised Russian athlete Sergei Shirobokov and Brazil’s Caio Bonfim were second and third.
Bosworth’s Leeds training partner Callum Wilkinson, the world junior champion, finished 43rd in 1:23:54.
Fellow Leeds athlete Bethan Davies came 29th in the women’s 20km walk in 1:33:10 with training partner Gemma Bridge 40th in 1:36:04.
Davies said: “I’m absolutely over the moon. I got on the start line I was like ‘Just keep it going, we’ll see what happens’. But I just can’t believe I went so close to my pb.
“All my friends and family were here, so that was the best experience I’ve ever had when it comes to racing.”