Leeds Beckett athletes ready to shine at the IAAF World Championships
4 August 2017 - Sean Freer
Today is the start of the IAAF World Athletics Championships in London and will see four of the best athletes from Leeds Beckett University take centre stage.
Current students Calum Wilkinson and Gemma Bridge will be competing alongside Alumni Tom Bosworth and Laura Weightman.
Olympian Laura Weightman will kick off her campaign this evening. A 1,500m runner, Laura has been training hard at Leeds Beckett University and in particular with the University’s Head of Athletics, Andrew Henderson, for the past seven years.
“I’ve been looking after Laura for as long as she’s been in Leeds,” Andrew said
“She has come a very long way and I’m hoping she can push on after her experience from the last World Championships and perform well this year. I hope that she goes all the way in making it to the final!”
Meanwhile, Leeds Beckett will be heavily represented in the Race Walking events with three Race Walkers competing on the final day of the Championships, Sunday 14 August.
Olympian Tom Bosworth has had a brilliant qualifying campaign having beaten the World Mile Record last month in the Muller Anniversary Games.
Tom’s record breaking walk comes off the back of a very successful 2016 Olympic Games, where he finished 6t h, and he will be looking to improve again in the World Championships.
Tom will line-up alongside current Leeds Beckett students Callum Wilkinson and Gemma Bridge.
Callum and Gemma will be competing in their first ever World Championships and have taken unique routes to reach the big stage.
Callum will be looking to make a name for himself at the World Championships as the current Junior Race Walking World Champion.
Meanwhile, Gemma switched from long distance running to race walking 12 months ago and has not looked back since, having qualified for the Championships in spectacular fashion.
Gemma won the British and English Race Walking Titles at the British Trials last month, an achievement Andrew Henderson says shouldn’t be taken lightly.
“Gemma has come from Running to Race Walking, this has been her first full year of competing in Race Walking and it just shows how far she’s come,” Andrew said
“She’s never competed at this level before so for her to go to the World Championships in her first year is absolutely massive.”
All three have benefited from the expertise and coaching of Andi Drake. Andi is currently with the athletes in London and is playing a crucial role in their final preparations.
“Andi deserves a lot of credit for the work that has been done, he has built the Race Walking programme from scratch along with the team into a World Class programme.” Mick Hill, Senior Coach (High performance & Enterprise) at Leeds Beckett said.
All four athletes will be heading into the Championships with high hopes but for Head of Athletics Andrew Henderson, he hopes that all will be happy with their performances, regardless of the result.
“The dream would certainly be for one of our four athletes to get a medal in this World Championships. That would be fantastic,” Andrew said
“But I just want them all to finish their events and be happy with what they’ve achieved and hopefully go on and compete in more Championships in the future.”
Good luck to all four of our athletes for the World Championships!