After double Russian success over the 20km races yesterday in Wuxi, this year’s IAAF Race Walking Challenge fixture in China ended today with a home win in the men’s 50km (19).
The weather in Wuxi today was dry but cloudy for the first 3 hours of the race which started at 0730hrs. It was windier than for yesterday’s 20km races with a temperature rising from 15 to a high of 25C and rain falling increasingly heavily towards the end of the competition.
Just four foreign athletes, Australia’s Luke Adams, the overall Challenge winner in 2007, Spain’s Juan Manuel Molina, Eder Sanchez of Mexico and Tunisia’s Hatem Ghoula lined-up for today’s 50km along with 45 Chinese race walkers.
As it turned out all four ended up not finishing the race which China’s Zhao Chengliang, who was fifth at the distance at the 2005 World Championships and has a personal best 3:36:13 from his second place in the 2005 National Games, claimed in a time of 3:45:16.
Luke Adams led the walkers in the first half but dropped out of the race after the 13th lap, and from that point Zhao Chengliang dominated until the end.
Of the other foreign visitors, Eder and Hatem only walked for 5 laps and Molina wasn’t able to finish the last 10km.
Therefore the race saw a Chinese sweep, with Xu Faguang taking second in 3:55:04 and Li Lei, who has recently won two titles in Baoji at China’s National Race Walking Grand Prix in late March, placed third with a time of 3:58:39.
In total 7 athletes were disqualified, while 15 athletes finished the 50km.
Gavin Yang for the IAAF