Alex Schwazer on the way to his first victory in Dudince (Branislav Račko) © Copyright
General News Dudince, Slovakia

Schwazer clocks 50Km world leader in Dudince

Italy's 2008 Olympic champion Alex Schwazer confirmed his top form also at 31st edition of the "Dudinska patdesiatka" in the south of Slovakia on Saturday (24).

In unseasonable hot conditions with temperatures over 20 degrees C. Schwazer clocked a world leading 3:40:58 performance in the 50Km race. It was the fourth fastest time of his career and a clear Olympic standard in his first completed 50km in two years.

"I'm satisfied with the performance, my main goal was the Italian standard of 3:54 for the London Games," said Schwazer, who triumphed over the distance in the Chinese capital four years ago. "I was thinking I can go somewhere around 3:45 so I'm even surprised it was so fast. It shows I'm in my best shape ever." Schwazer became the first Italian race walker to win at this event.

In the first 25 km he was walking with his teammate Matteo Giupponi and started to push the pace after 35 kilometres. He then overtook the leading Polish walkers and clearly won by three-and-a-half minutes and was rewarded with 1000 USD first place bonus.

Poland's walkers still ended fast. Runner-up Lukasz Nowak improved to 3:44:24 and qualified for London with Rafal Sikora taking third in 3:46:52. German Andre Hohne was fourth and qualified to London with 3:49:50.

The next group was headed by Greek Alexandros Papamihail with a personal best 3:55:13. Slovak champion was Dusan Majdan who ended 12th and just barely missed the standard with 3:59:05. The top ten went under the Olympic A qualifier 3:59.

From 93 walkers who started only 45 finished.

In the non-championships 20 km race the best home walker Matej Toth achieved here his third win after his triumphs in 2008 and 2010 with a fast 1:20:42. At the Games Toth plans to contest the 50km and here tried to break 1:20. But after 14 km he received warnings and slowed down. European Champion Yohann Diniz was a non-finisher after 15 km.

Rafal Fedaczynski of Poland was second in 1:22:38 with Jonathan Riekmann of Brazil third in 1:23:27 (PB).

In the women's 20 km Paulina Buziak of Poland was the best in 1:33:00 ahead of Olha Yakovenko of Ukraine (1:34:21) and Slovak Maria Czakova who won the national title in a 1:37:41 PB and Olympic B qualifier.

There were foreign wins in the junior races, with German Nils Brembach (43:55) winning the men's 10km contest and Lithuanian Ginta Vaiciukeviciute (49:59) taking the women's.

Alfons Juck for the IAAF