26 AUG 2014 General News Monaco

Dmytrenko and Liu confirmed as winners of 2014 IAAF Race Walking Challenge

Ukrainian race walker Ruslan Dmytrenko (Getty Images)Ukrainian race walker Ruslan Dmytrenko (Getty Images) © Copyright

With the series having ended at the recent European Championships, Ukraine’s Ruslan Dmytrenko and China’s Liu Hong held on to their lead in the IAAF Race Walking Challenge standings, ending the season as the overall winners.

Dmytrenko’s points total of 29 was boosted by his victory at the IAAF World Race Walking Cup in Taicang, where he won the 20km event. He also picked up valuable points from his victory in Lugano and his fourth-place finish at the European Championships.

The 28-year-old becomes the first Ukrainian athlete to secure victory – or even a top-three finish – in the IAAF Race Walking Challenge, bagging the USD $30,000 bonus in the process.

Australia’s Jared Tallent, last year’s challenge winner, finished second in this year’s series, one place ahead of Brazil’s Caio Bonfim, who – like Dmytrenko – becomes his nation’s first ever top-three finisher in the challenge.

Unlike Dmytrenko, Liu did not win at the IAAF World Race Walking Cup earlier in the season, but a combination of her second-place finish in Taicang along with her season-long consistency meant that the Chinese race walker regained the challenge title she won two years ago.

To be eligible in the final rankings, athletes must score points in at least three competitions within the series. World Cup winner Anisya Kirdyapkina did not compete in any other point-scoring events within the IAAF Race Walking Challenge, so she missed out. So too did her Russian team-mate Elmira Alembekova, the European champion.

It meant that second place went to Italy’s rising star Eleonora Giorgi, who secured top-five finishes in four competitions within the series. Portugal’s Ana Cabecinha replicated her overall third-place finish from last year.