The European Championships 20,000m Race walk, Men’s race
By Cathal Dennehy
On the rain-soaked streets of Zurich today, it was an athlete from Madrid, Spain who prevailed in the men’s 20km race walk at the European Championships – Miguel Angel Lopez emerging victorious in a contest that, in race-walking terms, essentially boiled down to a sprint.
A small but supportive crowd lined the one-kilometre loop around the city centre for the event as the athletes completed 20 laps of what proved a twisting, narrow course that constantly challenged the walkers’ rhythm. As the rain spat down in a steady stream throughout, just one athlete fell victim to what appeared to be lenient officiating and was disqualified, which was particularly surprising given the high number of athletes who could easily be seen breaking the rules and lifting as they rounded the turns away from the prying eyes of the judges.
In the end, it came down to a four-way battle for the three podium spots between Russians
Aleksandr Ivanov and Denis Strelkov, Ukraine’s Ruslan Dmytrenko and Spain’s Miguel Angel Lopez. It was only in the last quarter mile, as the four entered the home straight, that Lopez made his decisive move and strode on to a one-second victory ahead of the Russian duo. “Only in the last kilometre did i feel that victory was possible,” he said afterwards. “In the last kilometre, everything was possible. I did not have any red tags so I was not afraid to speed up the pace. I want to dedicate this to my family in Madrid and my coach.”
Men’s 20,000m Racewalk, 1. Miguel Angel Lopez, ESP, 1:19.44, 2. Aleksandr Ivanov, RUS, 1:19.45, 3. Denis Streklov, RUS, 1:19.46, 4. Rusian Dmytrenko, UKR, 1:19.46, 5. Christopher Linke, GER, 1:21.00, 6. Alvaro Martin, ESP, 1:21.41.
Complete results and splits can be found here: http://www.european-athletics.org/competitions/european-athletics-championships/2014/athletics/event/mens-20km-racewalk/phase=atm092100/index.html?v=20140813101517&intcmp=[#]-schline-result
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