Steve Cram and Paula Radcliffe praise Moulton racewalker Callum Wilkinson as he achieves a top 10 finish on his Olympics debut in Sapporo
Moulton's Callum Wilkinson managed to bridge the gap to 10th on the final lap in Sapporo this morning to claim a top 10 finish in the men’s 20km racewalk event on his Olympics debut – drawing praise from the BBC commentary team of Steve Cram and Paula Radcliffe.
The former Bury St Edmunds King Edward VI School pupil was the first Team GB competitor over the finish line by some distance with struggling Tom Bosworth down in 25th.
Wilkinson, who grew up training on West Suffolk Leisure Centre’s track in Bury, crossed the line after 20 laps of the roads around Sapporo Odori Park in one hour, 22 minutes and 38 seconds. He was 1min 33secs behind Italy’s gold medallist Massimo Stano and nine seconds adrift of Sweden’s Perseus Karlstrom in ninth.
The ex-junior world champion, who came seventh in the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, had gone into the race targetting a top eight place but struggled to keep with the leading pack in the hot and humid conditions.
His efforts were watched on by the local community in and around his home village of Moulton, outside Newmarket, where a big screen in the village hall had people eagerly watching the early morning event.
Commentating for the BBC's live red button coverage, 1984 Olympic 1500m silver medallist Steve Cram said as he crossed the line: “This is a very, very good performance from Callum Wilkinson.”
Co-commentator Paula Radcliffe, one of the world’s most decorated marathon runners, had said as he began his approach towards the finish line: “There was a significant gap to Nunez, I think seven to eight seconds to the top 10 position that he would dearly love.
“It has been a great walk for him.”
She soon realised Wilkinson had managed to overtake Mexican Olivas Nunez Andres Eduardo on the final 1km lap, ending an impressive eight seconds ahead of him.