Ecuadorians Rolando Saquipay and Mesías Zapata highlighted the 17th South American Race Walking Championships that took place in Cochabamba on 6-7 March.
Competing at the always challenging altitude of 2574m, the thirty-year-old Saquipay won the 20km event in 1:24:50 (7 March), leaving Colombian Gustavo Restrepo in second place with 1:27:40, and Chilean Yerko Araya in third (1:30:45).
To win the event for the second time in his career, after his triumph in Los Ángeles, Chile in 2004, Saquipay took an early lead, and was ahead of compatriot Andrés Chocho by 8 seconds at the 5km split (21:18); by 27 seconds at 10Km (42:34); and by 15 seconds by 15km (1:03:49). Chocho crossed the finish line in 1:26:10, but was disqualified after ending the race.
Saquipay, who has a PB of 1:19:21 (2005), has recorded his best international performances at the 2004 Olympic Games (17th), 2007 World Championships (12th), and 2004 and 2008 World Cup (12th). The Ecuadorian won the 2005 Pan American Cup, where he set his PB, and was also silver medalist at the 2007 Pan American Games.
Zapata 50km wins comfortably
On the first day of the Championships (6 March), the twenty-nine year-old Zapata took the 50km race in 4:17:00, leaving compatriots Washington López (21-years-old) in second place (4:21:08), and Washington Guevara in third (4:22:37). Zapata repeated the victory he had obtained in 2008 edition, held in Cuenca.
The splits for the victor were: 10km: 50:31; 20km: 1:39:47; 30km: 2:30:21; 40km: 3:22:57.
Colombian Sandra Galviz won the main race of the female side by taking the 20km in 1:40:48. The twenty-three year-old set a solid pace from the start, and by the 10km split (49:54), was already leading by 1:04 over Bolivian Claudia Balderrama, who captured the second place.
Brazilian Caio Bonfim provided the only victory for his country by taking the 10km Junior race (43:08).
The other winners of the day were Colombian Eider Arévalo (10km Youth; 43:35), Bolivian Wendy Cornejo (10km Junior; 52:46), and Peruvian Kimberly García (5km Youth; 24:24).
All champions qualified for the 2010 IAAF World Race Walking Cup, to be held in Chihuahua, Mexico, on 15-16 May.
Eduardo Biscayart for the IAAF
20km Adult (7)
1 Rolando Saquipay ECU 1:24:50
2 Gustavo Adolfo Restrepo COL 1:27:40
3 Yerko Araya CHI 1:30:45
50km Adult (6)
1 Mesías Zapata ECU 4:17:00
2 Washington Alvarado ECU 4:21:08
3 Washington Guevara ECU 4:22:37
10km Junior (7)
1 Caio Bonfim BRA 43:08
2 José Luis Montaña COL 43:20
3 Niel García PER 46:10
10km Youth (6)
1 Eider Arévalo COL 43:35
2 Brian Pintado ECU 47:00
3 Oscar Villavicencio ECU 47:51
20km Adult (7)
1 Sandra Galviz COL 1:40:48
2 Claudia Balderrama BOL 1:42:48
3 Milangela Rosales VEN 1:43:33
10km Junior (7)
1 Wendy Cornejo BOL 52:46
2 Ana Karina Bustos ECU 54:02
3 Marisol Álvarez ECU 55:20
5km Youth (6)
1 Kimberly García PER 24:24
2 Ana Karina Bustos ECU 25:11
3 Wendy Cornejo BOL 25:23
Medal table (G-S-B-Total)
1 Ecuador 2-4-4-10
2 Colombia 2-2-0-4
3 Bolivia- 1-1-1-3