Tearful Leeds athlete Tom Bosworth was left “devastated” after his attempt to win Great Britain a first global medal in race walking ended in disqualification at the World Championships in London yesterday.
Bosworth cut a distraught figure on the Mall as he was pulled out of the 20km walk when leading with a third of the race to go.
The 25-year-old had gone into the race harbouring hopes of adding to Britain’s tally of four medals, having finished sixth at the 2016 Olympics and broken the world record over one mile in race walking’s Diamond League debut in London last month.
However, his hopes of becoming a trailblazer for the event ended in tears as he incurred three red-card penalties for failing to adhere to the strict policies towards heel placement on each stride.
“I was feeling great and walking faster than I ever have done. But that’s race walking, technique has to go with fitness,” Bosworth said.
“I felt fit and strong enough to go with the leading pack. It is heart wrenching because you can’t physically finish a race as you are pulled off the course.
“I haven’t been disqualified for four and a half years so to do it here in London is devastating. But this has only made me hungrier for more. These bad days make the good days even sweeter.”
Bosworth’s Leeds training partner Callum Wilkinson, the world junior 10k champion, finished 43rd in 1:23.54.
Fellow Leeds athlete Bethan Davies came 29th in the women’s 20km walk in 1:33.10 with training partner Gemma Bridge 40th in 1:36.04.
In the final session of the championships at the London Stadium, Laura Muir produced a stirring final lap to add a sixth-place finish in the 5,000m to her fourth in the 1,500m earlier in the championships.
The Scot had felt the effects of her 1,500m during her heat but came on strong in the latter stages to clock 14.52.07, finishing eight seconds ahead of fellow Dundee runner Eilish McColgan (15.00.43). Olympic champion Hellen Obiri, of Kenya, took gold ahead of Ethiopia’s Almaz Ayana and Netherlands’ Sifan Hassan.
Caster Semenya claimed her second world 800m title with a new personal best of 1.55.16, beating Birundian Francine Niyonsaba and America’s Ajee Wilson into silver and bronze respectively. The South African has been shrouded in controversy since she was forced to take a gender test in 2009 amid claims her testosterone levels were three times higher than other competitors. But she backed up her Olympic title from Rio with a classy performance, outsprinting Niyonsaba and Wilson through the final 100m.
In the traditional ending, GB team captain Eilidh Doyle helped the women’s 4x400m team win silver behind the dominant USA, which featured a 17th global gold medal for Allyson Felix.
Britain’s men’s quartet, including Middlesbrough’s Rabah Yousif, won bronze to take the host medal tally to six for the championships.