Race Walking student and coach honoured at England Athletics Awards
Andi, Director of the National Centre for Race Walking at Leeds Beckett University, won the Dave Sunderland Award for coach development support. Meanwhile Sport Business Management student Callum was named Ron Pickering Memorial Fund U20 Athlete of the Year.
The pair have enjoyed great success over the last 12 months; Callum, coached by Andi, became the first British race walker for more than half a century to hold a global title when he won the 10km race at the IAAF World Junior Athletics Championships in Poland in July.
Andi also coaches Leeds Beckett alumnus Tom Bosworth who finished sixth in the 20km event at the Olympic Games in Rio with a new British record.
Speaking after the awards, Andi said: “It is a real honour to receive this award as Dave Sunderland was a colleague and a driving force behind the National Coach Development Programme that I work on.
“2016 has been the coaching year I’m most proud of; it is the race walk event group’s most successful season since 1964!
"Tom Bosworth has been part of the programme in Leeds since we started it in 2009 and his sixth place Olympic Games finish is the culmination so far of that work, which involves several colleagues from Leeds Beckett in key supporting roles: Louise Sutton, Dr Brian Hanley and Dr Andrew Manley.”
On Callum’s award, Andi added: “He placed seventh in the 2015 European Junior Championships before he came to Leeds Beckett – my job was to add value to that and support his coach back at home in his own development.
“Callum now moves up to senior competition and the Olympic distance events of 20km and 50km. He must also contend with the academic demands of his second year!
On the back of the success of the programme, European Athletics’ third European Race Walking Conference will be held at Leeds Beckett University from 11-13 November and the wider race walk programme will feature as a Carnegie Conversation in the spring.
Andi is now targeting a medal in Tokyo in four years under the mantra ‘Tokyo 2.0’.
“Great Britain and Northern Ireland’s last Olympic medals in race walking were in Tokyo in 1964 - Ken Matthews’ 20km gold and Paul Nihill’s 50km silver,” he said.
“In 2020 the Olympic Games return to Tokyo and Tokyo 2.0 says we want to win a medal in the race walk events with an athlete from our programme in Leeds – it has a powerful symmetry and after the 2016 season there is even stronger sense of belief in what we are working towards.”