Manx Harrier Tom Partington represented England on the 9th April 2016 as part of a strong England Athletics Team in the Junior Men’s 10km walk at the European Athletics permit meeting in Podebrady, Czech Republic.
British race-walking is going through a revival in terms of performance at a high level, no doubt helped greatly by the work done at the National Centre in Leeds which is starting to gain real momentum.
England had its biggest team in this race, with five juniors on the start line. Callum Wilkinson who is based at Leeds took the win with 11 seconds to spare over Giacomo Brandi of Italy and Arturs Makars of Latvia in a superb performance of 41.33 and he looks certain to have booked his ticket to the World Junior Championships in Poland this summer. His team mates of Cameron Corbishley (also based at Leeds) and Guy Thomas who is at Bath University packed well for 10th and 11th place, earning them the team prize and likely selection for the World Team Championships in Rome next month.
Tom and his fellow team-mate Chris Snook, who are both in the younger end of the age limit for this event as Youths, settled into a bold pace for their race. They walked side by side for all but the last 2km when Snook pulled away to finish slightly ahead in 31st position in a big personal best of 46.22. Tom was also in new territory time-wise finishing in 34th position with a new personal best of 46.41. Astonishing progress as he has improved his best time for the distance by nearly two minutes in the last month alone. Best of all was that both he and fellow Youth athlete Snook were inside the British Athletics qualification standard of 46.50 for the European Youth Athletics Championships which are to be held in Tbilisi in Georgia in July.
Tom is the second Manx Harrier Junior to achieve a standard for these Championships as Joshua Hewett, who is also in the Youth age group, has equalled the standard for High Jump with his 2.07 performance indoors when he won the Age Group Championships in Sheffield a couple of months ago. If selected both athletes could be wearing their first Great Britain vest this summer.
Thanks to Bridget Kaneen for this report.