19yearold Hong Liu of China clocked 45:12.84 to take a comfortable win in the women’s 10,000m Race Walk final, the first track event of this Saturday morning session.
A sixth place finisher at this year’s 20km World Race Walk Cup race in La Coruna, Liu broke away from Tatyana Shemyakina of Russia with whom she had shared the lead since the half way mark, with one kilometre to go never to be caught.
In the space of 200 metres the Chinese’s lead over the Russian increased to a 10 metres; at the bell the gap had gone up to a massive 50 metres.
Shemyakina claimed silver in 45:34.41 more than a minute quicker than Anamaria Greceanu’s 46:45.67 in bronze.
Pre-event favourite Vera Sokolova of Russia who had claimed the 10km gold medal in La Coruna had to be content with a fourth place finish in
The race looked to be the ideal opportunity for Sokolova to add another title to her long list of awards which already included a World Youth gold from Sherbrooke 2003, a European Junior gold in 2005 and the Naumburg World Cup title, but the Russian could not cope with the pressure of two warnings.
Third in Grosseto two years ago, Sokolova set the pace leading ahead of Shemyakina and Liu all the way up until the halfway mark which she reached in 22:50.03.
At this point the diminutive runner was shown her second yellow card and it was the end of her race for gold.
Shemyakina took control of the pace and led for the first time with 10 laps to go while Sokolova had already dropped back by 10 metres.
Shemyakina and Liu took turns at the front and despite the Chinese being given a yellow card, she nevertheless maintained the pace. The duo went through the 8th kilometre in 36:23.96 and the 9th kilometre in 40:55.17.
With 250 metres to go Liu quickly broke away and finished her solo walk towards China’s fourth gold medal of these championships supported by the crowd’s loud cheer.
In the meantime, Greceanu had caught up with and distanced Sokolova to secure Romania’s first World Junior walk medal since Caudia Iovan’s bronze back in 1996. Greceanu could not help shedding a tear at the thought that she had managed to defeat the mighty Sokolova to win step on the podium.