LEEDS Race walker Tom Bosworth found his road to redemption on a sun-drenched beachfront in trendy Currumbin.
Bosworth admitted he briefly contemplated his future in athletics after a dramatic disqualification at last year’s World Championships in London. But the 28-year old race walker was all smiles after his 20km silver at the Commonwealth Games, following a memorable stride for stride battle with Australian Olympic bronze medallist and close friend Dane Bird-Smith.
“I put a lot of pressure on myself and this race was about redemption,” admitted Bosworth. “A medal means everything, it defines your career. People never judge you on records, they judge you on what you win. I know now that I can perform at these big events.
“The last six months have been incredibly hard, they’ve been awful. For about a month afterwards there wasn’t a day when I didn’t break down. That was meant to be my race, competing in front of Buckingham Palace, with a home crowd behind me.
“After London I didn’t want to train, I didn’t even want to be an athlete. I thought people would only remember me for that but this has, perhaps, has given them something else to remember me.
“I don’t think what happened in London will ever leave me, I’m just trying to use the disappointment in the right way.
“Even though I’m second, it’s a new national record and my first major championship medal, with a really good mate in gold. Some people question this event but we put on a show there and really entertained.”
Bosworth is England’s track and field team’s co-captain on the Gold Coast and admitted he felt an additional pressure to get them off to a winning start in the first athletics event of the Games.
Home town favourite Bird-Smith was expected to win but Canada’s Benjamin Thorne is a former world medallist and South Africa’s Lebogang Shange just missed the podium in London last year.
Kenya’s Samuel Ireri Gathimba was also in the mix before dropping back, eventually claiming bronze.
But Bosworth and his Australian rival duelled all the way to the line in a gripping race in which the lead ebbed and flowed.
And now Bosworth is aiming for a upgrade at this summer’s European Championships in Berlin.
“I knew I was in great shape coming in and I worked really well tactically and proved a point to myself,” he added.
“I let them do the work because I didn’t want to flog myself and I needed to save something back for the finish.
“This was a staked race and I know getting on that podium will underline I’m a world class athlete and hopefully the next couple of years, I can turn this silver into gold.
“Of course London was playing on my mind. I would have been a fool to ignore what happened and think it was just a blip, I wanted to get technically better and I only got one card on the last lap and that’s really encouraging.
“Everyone wants the collection of world, European, Olympic and Commonwealth medals. I’ve got one now and there’s a chance for another in a few months and that’s really exciting.
“I know I’m doing the right things in training - the season is just beginning me.”
Elsewhere on the Gold Coast, Sarah Davies from Leeds won silver in the women’s 69kg weightlifting. “I am overwhelmed. I’m speechless,” she said. “My best ever in competition was 121kg so to get close to that was great. The crowd were amazing and I was nearly there and it was millimetres really. For me this wasn’t my weight class originally so to medal in this category is amazing.”
Pontefract’s James Willstrop will play Paul Coll in the final of the men’s squash singles following his 3-0 semi-final win.
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