Walking on sunshine: Willetton teen race walker on path to world dominance


Declan Tingay. Picture: Jon Hewson www.communitypix.com.au d481450
Declan Tingay. Picture: Jon Hewson www.communitypix.com.au d481450

DECLAN Tingay is heading towards world dominance, one 10km walk at a time.

The Willetton 19-year-old has quickly made a name for himself in Australian athletics circles with a surge up the national race walking ranks.

He has steadily improved during his 2018 races and has crossed the line first in each of his last three starts, including last month’s Australian Under-20 Championships.

While race walking is not high on the list of sporting activities for many Australian teenagers, Tingay says he loves it; although he hasn’t always been so successful.

“In 2015 I narrowly missed out on the IAAF World Youth Championships qualifying time and didn’t think much of it, but in 2016 I missed out on spots on the IAAF World Under-20 Championships and IAAF World Race Walking Team Championships teams and thought ‘I could be better than this’,” he said.

“So the second half of 2016 was entirely focussed on being as fast as possible over 5000m.

“A week after my last 5000m of the season I raced a 10km road event in Melbourne and walked 42:36, setting a national under-18 10km record and a minute faster than the World U20 Championships qualifying time.

“A week later again, I raced a 3000m in Geelong for fun and walked 11:40, two seconds faster than the U18 3000m record but it was unable to be ratified as official.

“It was after those last two races of 2016 that I realised I was in fact fast enough and good enough to be at that international level.”

Tingay will soon get his chance to compete on the international stage with his recent winning form leading to his Australian team selection at both the IAAF World Race Walk Team Championships in China next month and July’s IAAF World Under-20 Championships in Finland.

He said he could not wait until he could go up against the best in the world.

“I’m a little bit relieved (to make the team) however my selection was almost certain-my performances are a fair bit above the rest of our current junior athletes,” he said.

“My primary aim for the World Team Championships is a team medal, which is based on points from the top two athletes from each country, and a top eight performance.

“For World U20s, a top eight performance at least, hopefully a national U20 record, and at very best; a medal.”

The IAAF World Race Walk Team Championships is in China on May 5 and 6, with the IAAF World U20 Championships in Finland from July 10 to 15.

Declan Tingay’s 2018 results

Jan 14: 10,000m race walk (Canberra, Australian 10,000m Race Walking Championships): 6th
Jan 28: 5000m race walk (Canberra, AACT Championships): 2nd
Feb 11: 10km race walk ((Adelaide Race Walking Meet): 1st
Mar 1: 5000m race walk (Perth): 1st
Mar 16: 10,000m race walk (Sydney, Australian U20 Championships): 1st

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