Antonella Palmisano wins the women's junior race at the 2010 World Race Walking Cup in Chihuahua (Getty Images) © Copyright

Palmisano: 'This is only the starting point of my career'

The first thing Junior 10km winner Antonella Palmisano did after drawing breath was to call home and thank her coach.

It will be one of the best calls Tommaso Gentile has ever received on a Sunday afternoon back home in Italy, after his protégée defied the conditions to break the tape.

But the generous Italian student also believed the spectators around the course in Chihuahua had played their part in her victory.

She said: “I’ve already made the first call back home to my coach, and the second will be to my parents to thank them for all the support they give me.

“I wasn’t sure that when I pushed hard it was the right thing to do - but it was good enough for me.

“I did not expect this, because I had no real knowledge of my competitors.

"This is only the starting point of my career. I’m grateful for the amazing support I got around the course from the people of Chihuahua.”

Second place Qin He mounted a last-lap charge to try and close the gap to the leader, but was happy enough with her silver medal.

She said: “I thought I could have won, but I kept thinking that if it wasn’t this time, it would be next time if I keep training hard.”

Russia lost their dominance of the event, started in 2004, and third-place Anna Lukyanova was in no doubt the torturous sun had played its part in losing their grip on the individual title.

She said: “I had no idea it would be this hot, and felt the Russian team would have done better in different conditions.”

Paul Warburton for the IAAF