India finishes 14th in 20km event at Walk Race Worlds

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Taicang (China), May 6 (IANS) K.T. Irfan was 49th as India finished in the 14th spot in the 20 km race of the IAAF World Race Walking Team Championships here on Sunday.

The Kerala athlete completed the race in one hour, 29 minutes and 12 seconds — nearly eight minutes behind his this year’s best.

His teammates, Vikas Singh and Neeraj Sharma finished 64th and 71st respectively. While Vikas timed one hour, 31 minutes and 50 seconds, Neeraj produced his season’s best time of one hour, 32 minutes and 56 seconds.

The team title went to Japan. The individual title went to Japanese Koki Ikeda, who outraced local favourite Wang Kaihui in the last turn of the two-kilometre lap, reports Xinhua news agency.

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Ikeda clocked one hour, 21 minutes and 13 seconds — nine seconds faster than Kaihui. Massimo Stano of Italy finished third in 1:21:33.

It was the first men’s 20km title claimed by Japan in the history of the bi-yearly tournament, formerly known as the IAAF World Race Walking Cup.

Japan also won the gold in the team contest with strong performances from Ikeda and his teammates.

Meanwhile, in the under-20 10 km race, Alegna Gonzalez of Mexico shrugged off a six-second deficit with one kilometre to go and overtook two walkers before she hit the finish in style. Her winning mark of 45:08 is nine seconds faster than her own North American U20 record.

Ecuador’s Glenda Morejon, who was deprived of the leading position just less than 200 metres before the finish, took the silver in 45:13, 16 seconds ahead of the bronze medallist Nanako Fujii of Japan.

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Highly-favoured local race walker Ma Li, the runner-up from the last edition of this event in Rome and owner of the fastest PB in the entry list, dropped out of the leading pack after seven kilometres and finished sixth in 46:49.

Ecuador finished second in the team standings, and the Turkish team earned bronze.

After two days of the championships, China finished on top of the medal tally with six gold, four silver and two bronze medals. Japan collected four gold, two silver and two bronze medals to sit at second place, while Mexico finished third with two gold medals.



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