Moulton medal hope to hit the track tomorrow morning as friends and family watch in village hall
Residents of Moulton will be up early and heading over to their village hall early tomorrow as one 24-year-old Moulton man attempts to leave his mark on the Olympic Games halfway around the world.
The village hall committee decided to set up a big screen in the hall so that friends, family and interested neighbours could watch Callum Wilkinson's bid to match the world's best in the 20km race walk event at 8.30am.
Ron Wallwork, who has been a mentor to Callum since he decided to take up race walking in 2012, said: "He has a great team around him, including his family, who are all behind him. The best advice I ever gave Callum was to get in touch with Mick Graham, who became his coach and helped him get to where he is now."
"I'll be nervous for him tomorrow, but in his last race in Spain he went from 9th to 6th in the final stages. He's modest, but he has been performing really well and if he is still near the front runners in the last few kilometres then anything can happen."
Mr Wallwork, who won the gold medal in the race walk at the 1966 Commonwealth Games, added: "Athletes live their events every day and he'll know what's possible."
Callum will be appearing in his debut Olympic Games, and while Great Britain had a good record in walking events back in the 1960s, our athletes have not managed to collect an Olympic medal since 1964.
He said: "When I am in the UK, I’ll drop in and see Ron, I’ll go to the track and see Mick – they’ll always give me their time.
“The first two people to text me after the race (after qualifying for the Olympics) were Ron and Mick. I hope that says something about me, that they still care and feel involved in my process because they are both still mentors to me.
“Long may it continue because I value their input a lot and I like being able to share my achievements with them.”
On the event itself, he added: "I know it’s going to hurt, it’s going to be a battle and all the other cliches you can chuck at it.
“But it’s the Olympic Games, if you can’t smile at the fact you’re on the start line at an Olympic Games, when can you? Even if I don’t look like I’m smiling, I’m happy about it.
“I’ve done the training, I know my targets. Racing is the easy and fun bit compared to training, so I’ll be excited.
“I’ll be going in there looking at the top eight, I think that’s achievable."