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A Russian day in Dudince

A Russian Day in Dudince The European Cup in Race Walking
Alfons Juck for the IAAF

19 May 2001 - Dudince - A  Simply Russian Day – would sum up most appropriately the 4th European Cup in Race Walking in the South Slovak spa resort of Dudince.

Russian Walkers won 4 of the 5 races and were first in all five team competitions. It is fair to assume that the rewsults are due to the fact that a top 3 place counted for the Russian walkers as qualification for the World Championships in Edmonton.

Three walkers repeated their wins from last year edition in Eisenhuttenstadt (Kozlova, Ivanova, Garcia) and former world champion Jesus Angel Garcia made an excellent achievement as he has now 3 wins and one second place in all four European Cup editions at the longest distance. However, the sensation of the day was the win of still a junior Viktor Burayev in the men´ s 20 km race with a sub 1:20 time. All together 280 walkers from 31 countries competed on sunny and windy day on 2 km lap course.

Junior races

Junior races were held together with the men´s 50 km walk and both races were dominated by Russian walkers. In the junior contest Poland's Benjamin Kucinski was the first to take the initiativeover the first 3 laps. Then Russians and Belarusians prevailed with last year's silver medalist from the World Junior Championships, Yevgeniy Demkov, winning just two seconds before his teammate Sergey Lystsov. Both recorded excellent times of 41:16 and 41:18. In the yearly world lists only the Russians were quicker at home in March. Eventually Demkov equalled last year's winning time and European Cup best, set by another Russian Aleksandr Kuzmin.

The junior women's race was also decided in the last two laps by Russian girls. The winner Tatyana Kozlova regained the title but this time with a slower 46:08 (last year 45:28). Excellent results for two Greek juniors as they finished in the top ten which meant 3rd place in the team competition and first ever walking European medal for the country.

20 km men

In the afternoon the men's 20 km race started quickly on pace for a winning time under 1:20. First to pull from the leading pack (around 20 walkers) was Artur Meleshkevich of Belarus, his solo effort lasted nearly 3 laps until 13 km. Then he slowed and was later disqualified.

A group of six favourites walked the next two laps together, with Czech Malysa starting to fade. Going into the last 2 km a trio remained and in the finish topped the podium. But the winner was still a junior, which had never before happened in race walking at a big championships or cup event for men. Last year's bronze medalist at the World Junior Champs and junior world record holder at 10,000 m Viktor Burayev, had the best finish for a clear win in 1:19:30 with a 15 seconds margin.

“I'm not surprised, we knew we are in good shape and my tactics were clear – to be on the podium, ” said Burayev afterwards. 1991 World Championships bronze medalist and 18 years older Yevgenij Misulya was second and last year's silver medalist at the Cup German Andreas Erm third. Spain's Francisco Fernadez, who won in 1998 and came 3rd in 2000 had to settle for  4th. Latvia's 2000 Olympic Games  50 km medalist Aigars Fadeyevs started slowly, but his speed in the last laps gained him only 8th position, world list leader Dmitriy Yesipchuk of Russia was 11th.

50 km men

The first half of the toughest event was slower than the second one. Spain.s 1993 World Champion Jesus Angel Garcia played some excellent tactics and left the initiative to the Russians.

World Championships 1999 bronze medalist Nikolay Matyukhin was the most active leading at every stage of the race. After 30 km he was there only with his countryman Vladimir Potemin. But Garcia started his effort from behind and two laps before the end he was the clear leader. Garcia´s 50 km record at European Cups is remarkable – 3 wins and only one second place in 1998 in Dudince. “Yes, after my 1998 second place I wanted to win here.

"Time was not so important, my tactics were clear, even though I must admit that after the first half I coudn´t be sure of the win. My aim for the season is to win a medal in Edmonton and better my personal record of 3:39:34. And then to better the best ever time at 50 km and be succesfull at the Olympic Games in Athens 2004.

"From my point of view, we do not need changes in the rules. Only the same judging for every competitor,” said Garcia. His winning time 3:44:26 was European yearly best and 2nd best in the world 2001.

20 km women

Women´s race was dominated from the early stages by world best holder (1:24:50 this year) and mother of an 11-year-old daughter Olimpiada Ivanova of Russia.

Later it looked like her initiative was too early. Her compatriot, the 1996 Olympic Champion Yelena Nikolayeva, came up and also in the leading trio was the Portuguese bronze medalist from the 1998 European Championships, Susanna Feitor. With one lap to go Feitor started a great solo effort and was leading. But the last lap changed everything. Feitor was disqualified 1 km before the finish and ended in tears. Nikolayeva faded rapidly and Ivanova was a narrow winner before her 10 year younger team colleague Natalya Fedoskina (personal record 1:26:50).

Ivanova equalled her last year winning time of 1:26:48. It could be considered the quickest at a big championships since 1999 when this distance was established for women. Only she was this year the fastest in the world.

“I felt great and on such days I can win everything. But I m sure in Edmonton we will not start so fast. We will be watching each other,” said Ivanova afterwards. Fast-finishing Elisabetta Perrone of Italy won bronze after last year's silver at the cup and recorded a new Italian best of 1:27:09. Sydney medallists did not have a good day – Norway's Kjersti Plätzer did not finish and Spain's Maria Vasco   7th. One of the all-time walking greats, Anarita Sidoti of Italy, finished 11th.


10 km junior women: 1. Tatyana Kozlova, RUS 46:08, 2. Marina Tikhnava,BLR 46:31, 3. Yekaterina Izmaylova, RUS 46:42, 4. Athanassi Tzoumeleka,GRE 46:43, 5. Beatriz Pascual, ESP 47:23, 6. Ekaterina Labashova,BLR 47:38

Teams: 1. RUS 4, 2. BLR 9, 3. GRE 12, 4. ESP 21, 5. HUN 35, 6. FRA 35

10 km junior men: 1. Yevgenij Demkov,RUS 41:16, 2. Sergey Lystsov,RUS 41:18, 3. Mikalai Seradovich,BLR 41:30, 4. Aleksander Strokov, RUS 41:53, 5. Andrey Talashka,BLR 42:12, 6. Dmitriy Malinovsky,BLR 42:23

Teams: 1. RUS 3, 2. BLR 8, 3. POL 21, 4. GRE 23, 5. ITA 26, 6. UKR 30

20 km women: 1. Olimpiada Ivanova, RUS 1:26:48, 2. Natalya Fedoskina, RUS 1:26:50, 3. Elisabetta Perrone,ITA 1:27:09, 4. Erica Alfridi,ITA 1:27:29, 5. Yelena Nikolayeva,RUS 1:28:20, 6. Norica Cimpean,ROM 1:29:25, 7. Maria Vasco,ESP 1:30:11, 8. Valentina Tsybulskaya,BLR 1:30:37, 9. Gillian O´Sullivan, IRL 1:31:13, 10. Natalya Misulya,BLR 1:31:21, 11. Annarita Sidoti, ITA 1:31:43, 12. Valentina Savchuk, UKR 1:31:48, 13. Jolanta Dukure, LAT 1:32:11, 14. Elena Isar,ROM 1:32:36, 15. Melanie Seeger, GER 1:32:57

Teams: 1. RUS 8, 2. ITA 18, 3. BLR 35, 4. ESP 48, 5. UKR 51, 6. ROM 57

20 km men: 1. Viktor Burayev,RUS 1:19:30, 2. Yevgeniy Misulya, BLR 1:19:45, 3. Andreas Erm, GER 1:19:51, 4. Francisco Fernandez,ESP 1:20:02, 5. Vladimir Andreyev,RUS 1:20:14, 6. Jiri Malysa,CZE 1:20:21, 7. Denis Nizhegorodov,RUS 1:20:42, 8. Aigars Fadeyevs,LAT 1:20:51, 9. Ivan Trotskiy,BLR 1:21:43, 10. Juan Molina,ESP 1:21:51, 11. Dmitriy Yesipchuk, RUS 1:22:05, 12. Lorenzo Civallero,ITA 1:22:10, 13. Silviu Casandra,ROM 1:22:34, 14. Antony Gillet, FRA 1:22:44, 15. Joao Vieira,POR 1:22:52

Teams: 1. RUS 13, 2. ESP 34, 3. ITA 55, 4. LAT 56, 5. FRA 80, 6. ROM 84

50 km men: 1. Jesus Angel Garcia,ESP 3:44:26, 2. Nikolay Matyukhin,RUS 3:45:48, 3. Vladimir Potemin,RUS 3:46:12, 4. Santiago Perez,ESP 3:46:52, 5. Denis Langlois,FRA 3:48:06, 6. Alexey Voyevodin,RUS 3:48:51, 7. Viktor Ginko,BLR 3:50:59, 8. David Boulanger,FRA 3:51:36, 9. Štefan Malík,SVK 3:51:58, 10. Denis Trautmann,GER 3:52:16, 11. Rene Piller,FRA 3:52:18, 12. Yuriy Andronov,RUS 3:52:57, 13. Francesco Galdenzi,ITA 3:53:01, 14. Zoltan Czukor,HUN 3:53:18, 15. Giovanni de Benedictis,ITA 3:54:12

Teams: 1. RUS 11, 2. ESP 21, 3. FRA 24, 4. ITA 48, 5. GER 57, 6. POR 70

Unofficial overall teams: 1. RUS 39, 2. ESP 159, 3. FRA 283, 4. SVK 414, 5. HUN 426 (only 5 countries had complete teams finished in all five categories)