Monaco – Monaco – April 27, 2012: Worldwide Affair, When the best race walkers on the planet make their way to Saransk in two weeks’ time to compete in the IAAF World Race Walking Cup, they may well be entering the mecca of the discipline, the Capital of the Republic of Mordovia where Race Walking is the first national sport, yet it is a whole world of specialists that will be lining up for the six individual and six team titles at stake on 12-13 May.
Undisputedly, Russian race walkers have proven their outstanding tradition and powerful display notably after conquering all three Race Walking titles at the Daegu World Championships in 2011; and competing on home soil will add yet another extra boost to their motivation but one is not without discounting “the rest of the world.”
Many countries and indeed many Continental Areas possess incredible race walking talents and that was proven once again at the last edition of the IAAF World Race Walking Cup in Chihuahua 2010 where five of the six IAAF’s Continental Areas featured at least one athlete on the podium.
The European super powers were all represented on Chihuahua’s podium with Spain, Italy and Portugal but more surprising was the gold medal for Slovakia conquered by the upset of the week Matej Toth. Interestingly, Russia had one of their poorest performances in the history of the event with “only” 3 individual bronze medals to add to the men’s junior team title.
South America’s long standing tradition in the discipline was carried through when Eider Arevalo crossed the finish line to take the men’s junior gold medal as he also led Colombia to the team bronze.
The NACAC region was duly represented by the host country and the likes of local hero Horacio Nava who not only took the individual silver medal in the men’s 50km but he also led Mexico to a superb silver medal in the team standings.
Oceania’s medal haul was that of Jared Tallent, the Australian bravely holding on to his country’s first ever individual medal in the history of the competition.
The Chinese walkers were the most impressive in Chihuahua 2010 as they took home no fewer than 4 individual medals including Hao Wang’s title in the men’s 20km race walk; but they also had an amazing showing in the team standings as the only nation to be featured on the team podium in all 6 races and winning no fewer than 3 team titles!
The African continent was also well represented with Tunisia’s Hassanine Sebei finishing among the Top-10 in the men’s 20km race walk.
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