Tom Bosworth (club: Tonbridge; coach: Andi Drake) secured the best IAAF World Championship finish of his career as he stormed to a brilliant seventh place in the 20km race walk in Doha to complete a full set of major championship top-seven finishes.
Bosworth, who underlined his status as a world-class race walker after finishing an impressive sixth at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and won Commonwealth silver last year, produced a fine performance to come through the field and take seventh in 89:34.
His previous best finish at the World Championships was 25th on debut in Beijing in 2005 and he showed why he is so good by remaining calm and composed to push into the top ten and beyond, coming within 15 seconds of the top three at one stage in the final 10km.
Bosworth’s year has been offset by injury yet has delivered European Cup fourth individually and team silver in May and now a classy performance in humid conditions at a race that started at 23:30 local time, adding a world top-seven finish to his European seventh from Berlin last year and those Olympic and Commonwealth efforts.
He said: “I am over the moon. No Brit has ever finished in the top eight so for me that was the second target, the first being a medal. I’ve now got top eights at the Olympics, Europeans, Commonwealths and now worlds – I have got the set – and after the year I have had, it is everything.
“It hasn’t really sunk in but it has taken a lot of hard work and I know everyone talks about medals but for me, this is massive, it is the equivalent of being a world finalist. It really does make every single day and all those commitments, which we choose to do, worth it.
“I am not sure what was going through my head to get to the end in that last 4km but everything had gone to plan. I just stayed at the back and took them away one by one because the heat was crazy. I was ten minutes off my personal best, which says it all.”
Bosworth’s training partner Callum Wilkinson (Enfield & Haringey: Drake) also looked great throughout the race, surging ahead of his compatriot early and then doing the same in the second half after the British pair traded places – however he was to suffer a disqualification after accruing for four fouls.
Wilkinson took the race out in the early stages with the pace slow after 3km and was in the top six but, in bidding for the highest possible finish, he caught the eye of the judges and was shown a red card with around 3km to go.
Wilkinson, 22, who finished 41st on his world debut in London on 2017 and won European under-23 race walk bronze back in July and the world junior title in 2016, said: “It was set up beautifully for me – I was in dreamland.
“I had two cards and I thought I’m walking well, I’ll get through it and I can still move. I walk better usually when I speed up and I took the time penalty and even then I knew that I was still top 15 and I was like ‘I can catch people’. Maybe I chased too hard and pushed too hard.
“It’s going to be a stinger for a little while, it’s a tough result to take but I’ll learn from it and come back stronger and use it as fuel for the fire. I am in a really good position less than a year out from Tokyo. Yes you’ve got to finish races but it’s a lot closer than the result sheet will show.”
British medallists at the IAAF World Championships:
Dina Asher-Smith – 200m
Katarina Johnson-Thompson – Heptathlon
Dina Asher-Smith – 100m
4th – Adam Gemili – 200m
4th – Holly Bradshaw – Pole Vault
4th – Mixed 4x400m relay team
6th – Zharnel Hughes – 100m
7th – Tom Bosworth – 20km Race Walk