Italy’s World Championship bronze medallist Alex Schwazer set an impressive national record in Rosignano Solvay near Livorno, Italy, yesterday (11) when winning the Italian 50km Race Walk title in 3:36:04.
The performance puts Schwazer in third place* in the world all-time list behind the 3:35:47 World record of Australia’s Nathan Deakes and the 3:36:03 previous mark of Polish legend Robert Korzeniowski.
Schwazer set his previous Italian record in Helsinki in August 2005 when he surprised mosty by winning the World bronze medal crossing the finish-line in 3:41:54.
The 22-year-old Italian from Calice, a small village near Racines in the Northern Italian region of Alto Adige, has come back to his best form after a very difficult 2006 season in which he was struck down by a virus after a training stint in Perù last April. He started in the European Championships in Gothenburg last August but was forced to drop out.
The Italian walker, who is coached by walking race “guru” Sandro Damilano and trains with 2006 European women’s bronze medallist Elisa Rigaudo, missed the newly minted Worold record of Nathan Deakes by just 17 seconds.
Schwazer began with athletics as a middle distance runner at the age of 15 after playing ice hockey in the local youth team of Vipiteno. He turned to walking events when he was in the under 18-age group. He competes for the military club Carabinieri Bologna and trains in the italian training centre for walkers in Saluzzo.
“Everything went well this winter. I knew that I was in very good form and I could break the world record. If I had raced against a more competitive field, I could have set the record,” said Schwazer.
He is considered by race walking coaches to be a hard worker who is able to stand the efforts easily and has 29 heartbeats per minute at rest.
“It’s a confidence-boost for me after last year’s disappointment in Gothenburg (European Champs). I have great expectations from this season which features the European Walking Cup in Leamington and the World Championships in Osaka,” concluded Schwazer.
Diego Sampaolo for the IAAF
NB. The 3:35:29 by Denis Nizhegorodov (RUS) set in Cheboksary on 13 June 2004 was never ratified as a World record due to no EPO test being carried out.