Lille, France – After pounding out and dictating a record pace for most of the 25-lap race, Pavel Parshin captured the World youth title in the Boys’ 10,000m Race Walk.
The Russian, who waged a fierce four-man battle for virtually the entire contest, clocked 40:51.31 to shatter the Championships record by nearly 44 seconds. But he wasn’t first across the line.
That honour went to Colombian Manuel Esteban Soto who, after walking nearly stride-for-stride with his 17-year-old opponent down the homestraight, passed Parshin in the final 10 metres before both fell to the track with exhaustion just beyond the finish. The finish was certainly thrilling and dramatic, but unfortunately for Soto, also a bit too ambitious. Less than two minutes into his celebration, he found himself tracked by one of the judges who issued a red card, disqualifying the 17-year-old.
Soto’s last second would-be heroics should take nothing away from Parshin, who after doing much of the front-walking, was elevated to the No. 9 position on the youth all-time. He also returned the World youth title to Russia who after winning the first five titles in succession, found their streak upset in Bressanone two years ago by Germany’s Hagen Pohle.
The medals here were seemingly decided some four kilometres into the race, where Parshin, Soto, his teammate Kenny Martin Perez and Jesus Tadeo Vega of Mexico had already forged a hefty lead over the pursuers.
With just one exception - Mohamed Mohamed Saleh of Egypt joined the lead pack with 16 laps remaining briefly before he too was disqualified – it was this foursome who raced together at a brisk clip, maintaining a Championship record pace throughout.
With just over five laps to go, Parshin tried to make the first decisive move, but the pursuers remained in contact. With just over three laps to go, Vega began to drift back, and ultimately out of medal contention.
It wasn’t until midway through the final lap that Perez, the only one of the leading quartet to wear a cap on the cool, cloudy and misty morning, was left behind to watch the race play out in front of him.
Following his teammate’s DQ, he was moved up to silver medal position, clocking a personal best 40:59.25 to land just outside the all-time top 10.
Bronze was decided in a photo finish with Mexican Erwin Gonzalez, who produced a strong second half, giving the edge over teammate Vega by a scant 0.01 in 41:09.61, personal bests for both.
Tyler Sorensen (41:23.14) of the USA and Wang Kaihua (41:50.75) also finished with career bests in under 42 minutes. The top eight finishers, and 15 of the first 16, notched personal bests.
Bob Ramsak for the IAAF