The women’s 10km at the 23rd IAAF World Race Walking Cup, Cheboksary, Russia, 10 – 11 May 2008 was something of a Russian procession from first to last.
The only doubt was which one of the three juniors from the home nation was going to top the podium, and on which of the other two steps her two team-mates would stand.
Right from the gun the three Russian white vests showed at the front, but any pretence of admission to a very exclusive club was denied after a mere 500 metres.
By then the rest of the junior women’s walking world were fighting for the minor places, and by 4k reached in 8:19, Elmira Alembekova had come off the back,
At 5k exactly, and almost as part of some re-arranged plan, Tatyana Kalmykova decided to push on and leave Irina Yumanova to ponder second place for a very long time going around the back end of the lakeside course.
Jessica Rothwell made gains on fourth place Anamaria Greceanu from Romania, with the Australian then drawing level at a little after half-way, but just as quickly falling back when Greceanu realised the danger to her isolated spot.
Up front Kalmykova was untroubled for the rest of the race, and with her pony tail bouncing up and down in the summer sun, the 18-year-old with the fastest time of the year, had enough time to wave to the huge crowds over the last 400 metres and celebrate her win.
In fact, she had time to stop and order an ice-cream had she so chosen such was the dominance of her triumph, which was short of her own PB but still garnered her a European record by way of compensation.
Yumanova duly followed her home, and a long way behind - two minutes and counting – bronze medalist Alembekova completed the Russian trio to pose for pictures sometime before Greceanau claimed fourth, with a tiring Rothwell coming home fifth.
The team medals at least had an element of surprise.
Russia duly took gold; Romania second, but Colombia’s third with Maria del Pilar Rayo and Anlly Pineda taking the honours completing a first ever team medal for the south American country.
Kalmykova admitted the pleasure of coming first was compromised by her slightly slower-than-expected time.
Paul Warburton for the IAAF