Ron Wallwork believes racewalking sensation Callum Wilkinson can have the world at his feet, if he wants it.
The 17-year-old King Edward VI School sixth form pupil underlined his growing reputation in the sport again last week as he clinched a maiden senior medal with bronze in the 5,000-metre walk final of the Sainsbury’s British Championships.
And despite trying to keep his protégé’s feet firmly on the ground, Wallwork — who won racewalking gold at the 1966 Commonwealth Games in Jamaica — is confident Wilkinson could taste success at the very highest level.
“It is a tremendous accolade for Callum to get on a senior stage,” he said. “There have been pieces in magazines stating that if he continues to progress as he is then he will be a major player on the world stage.
“Who knows what the future may hold, there have plenty of exceptionally-talented youngsters who haven’t made it for one reason or another.
“However, Callum has the potential to go all the way and he has certainly been developing in the right way.”
And it is that scope for development that has led Wallwork to believe that the youngster could reach the highest of competitions in the coming years.
“In four years time he could be looking at making the Commonwealth Games in Brisbane and two years after that there is the Olympic Games in Tokyo,” he added.
“I don’t want to put added pressure on him but I believe they are viable ambitions for Callum.
“Potential is something that is intangible and only time will tell what he will achieve.
“For me, success on the biggest of stages like the Olympic Games is there if he wants it . Now he has that first senior medal it shows what he can be capable of.
“He has already been hugely successful this season but now is the time to go and continue to be successful for the remainder of the season.”