04 AUG 2009 Preview Yohann Diniz is one of France’s leading gold

Men's 50 Kilometres Race Walk - PREVIEW

Yohan Diniz of France just a moment before his French record in the 50km Race Walk in Dudince (organisers)Yohan Diniz of France just a moment before his French record in the 50km Race Walk in Dudince (organisers) © Copyright
Yohann Diniz is one of France’s leading goldmedal hopes, and after failing to finish in Beijing the European champion will be keen to make amends in Berlin. But can he hold off the ever-strong challenge from the other leading race walk nations?

Defending champion Nathan Deakes will not be able to take advantage of his wild card entry because of injury, but that will not dent Australian hopes too much as Jared Tallent, the Olympic silver medallist, will once again be doubling up in the Race Walk events.

Italy’s Alex Schwazer failed to finish his only 50km race walk of the year so far, but as the Olympic champion and two-time World bronze medallist, the 24-year-old can never be discounted.

Russian race walkers will have high hopes. In Helsinki four years ago Russia won gold and silver, but in Osaka 2007 their top hope Denis Nizhegorodov finished outside the medals in fourth. The World record-holder was back in the medals in Beijing, winning bronze, but he is yet to win the world title.

After easily winning the European Cup in May, Nizhegorodov is clearly in good form. Joining him on the Russian team is former World champion Sergey Kirdyapkin and European bronze medallist Yuriy Andronov.

Norwegain hopes are also high, and they will be represented by Erik Tysse and Trond Nymark. Tysse was fifth in both Osaka and Beijing, while national record-holder Nymark earlier this year won the IAAF race walk challenge in Chihuahua.

China is sending 3:36 man Zhao Chengliang, national champion Li Lei and championship debutant Xu Faguang. But despite being one the leading race walk nations, China has not yet won a medal at the IAAF World Championships. Will that change this year?

Other walkers in with a good chance include Slovakian record-holder Matej Toth, Japanese record-holder Yuki Yamazaki, Ireland’s Jamie Costin, and Spain’s Jesus Angel Garcia.

Jon Mulkeen for the IAAF