Tom Bosworth: British race walker hoping to take the sport where it's never been

Bosworth, 25, hoping to bring the sport into the spotlight

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The Independent Online

Tom Bosworth assured me there was nothing to worry about.

He told me he was excited, not pressurised by leading the race walking charge for Britain. He batted away my concern that our conversation over the internet had forced him to abandon the Spanish sun he had been training in, telling me it’s no problem. Isn’t the interviewer meant to be putting the interviewee at ease?

Preparation for the 2015 World Championships in Beijing and beyond is in full swing, but this is where the contradiction starts. An effervescent, likable character, Bosworth’s bubbly attitude doesn’t equate to unrealistic and carefree thinking. There’s no danger of him slipping into complacency.

“I never try and think too far ahead because then you miss the little bits and the stepping stones to that big event,” said Bosworth, as the line on our internet connection cracked slightly.

Race walking, Bosworth admits, is crying out for someone to take the sport somewhere it hasn’t been before.

His twelfth-placed finish in the European Championships in Zurich last year gave him reason to believe he’s making an impression. His 3km win in Sunday’s British Indoor Championships, setting a personal best in the process, gives everyone else a reason to believe.

Just last weekend he smashed the British 10km race walk record, a record which had stood since 1989. Competing in the Molly Barnett Open & Winter Race Walk Challenge in Coventry, recorded a time of 39:36. The previous British record was previously held by Chris Maddocks, with a time of 40:17, achieved before he was even born.

“We’ve had such little success for a couple of decades now,” he said.

“We just need somebody to break through into the top 10 in the world, or even medal, for opinions to change.

“The last five years have been hard work and a bit of a rollercoaster, but now I only want it to be me and nobody else.”

Bosworth, who holds the 5k British record, recognises the importance of social media. His video blogs, entitled ‘Tom Talks’, examine the equipment he uses to keep track of his progress and log improvements. For Bosworth, the benefits of using as many platforms as possible are limitless.

“I think video blogs and other social media are really important for connecting,” he said.

“You’ve got to be a personality to really succeed in getting your name across as well as having the athletic performance. I’m starting to do the blogs and taking them quite seriously.

“I realise how much they affect people and that people will listen to you when they believe your opinion counts.”

Bosworth is looking to ensure the race walking path becomes illuminated with each step he takes. He wants to haul race walking into the mainstream. He wants it to be him. Him and no-one else.  Who can argue?