Valeriy Borchin takes the victory in Rio Maior (Marcelino Almeida) © Copyright
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Borchin and Kaniskina on cruise control in Rio Maior – IAAF Race Walking Challenge

Lisbon, PortugalRacing in spectacular conditions, Russians Valeriy Borchin and Olga Kaniskina captured convincing 20Km victories at the 20th edition of the International Race Walking Grand Prix in Rio Maior on Saturday, the fifth stop of the 2011 IAAF Race Walking Challenge.

Matej Toth of Slovakia, winner of the 50Km even in Dudince last month, lead the field until midway when Borchin (PB 1:17:38), the reigning Olympic and World champion, made his move for the front and pushed hard en route to a 1:18:55 victory. His mark broke the meeting record of 1:19:02 held by Spaniard Francisco Fernandez.

The great course also helped Russian Stanislav Emelyanov, who improved his personal best by ten seconds to 1:19:33 to finish second. Mexico’s Eder Sanchez made up ground in the latter stages to finish third in 1.19.36, well off of His personal best but showing his efforts on the road to Daegu. Toth lost a lot of ground in the waning kilometres, but still finished fourth with 1:20:53, a new personal best.

“This was a great competition, and I’m happy with this performance,” said Borchin, who made his season’s debut. “Everything’s going well in my preparation (for Daegu).”

Tunisian Hassanine Sebei came in fifth and Robert Heffernan finish in six place. Behind them there were plenty of season bests and several personal bests including Mexican 50Km specialist Horacio Nava (seventh in 1:22:15) and his compatriot Jose Leyver Ojeda (ninth in 1:22:30).

The best Portuguese was João Vieira who finished 11th in 1:22:44.

Kaniskina cruises

Kaniskina, also the reigning Olympic and two-time World champion as well as reigning European champion, began the competition with a conservative pace in the lead pack, but then moved to the front and stayed there for good after the fourth kilometre en route to her 1:28:35 victory.

“This was my first competition this season and I’ll next go to Sesto San Giovanni (1 May) and then I’ll start my preparation to try to get the gold medal in the IAAF World Championship,” said Kaniskina.

Spain’s Beatriz Pascual (PB 1:27.44) was in the chase grou and finished second in 1.28.51, a season best, in front of the Portuguese Vera Santos, whose 1.29.55 was also a season’s best and the fastest this year by a Portuguese.

Local hero Susana Feitor, who was third in Chihuahua last month, also clocked a season’s best (1.30.44) to finish fourth, ahead of Chihuahua winner and Portugal’s national 20km champion Inês Henriques (PB 1:29.36) who clocked 1.30.59.

Next was German Melanie Seeger (pb 1:28.17), the winner in Rio Maior in 2006 and fourth place finisher at last year’s European Championships, who clocked 1.31.01, also a season best.

António Manuel Fernandes for the IAAF

Leading Results:

WOMEN (20Km) -

1. Olga Kaniskina (RUS) 1.28.35

2. Beatriz Pascual (ESP)  1.28.51

3. Vera Santos (POR) 1.29.55

4. Susana Feitor (POR) 1.30.44

5. Inês Henriques (POR) 1.30.59

6. Melanie Seeger (GER) 1.31.01

7. Kristina Saltanovic (LTU) 1.33.06

8. Cisiane D. Lopes (BRA) 1.35.15

9. Guadalupe Sanchez (MEX) 1.35.16

10. Erandi Uribe (MEX) 1.36.16

MEN (20Km) -

1. Valeriy Borchin (RUS) 1.18.55

2. Stanislav Emelyanov (RUS) 1.19.33

3. Eder Sanchez (MEX) 1.19.36

4. Matej Toth (SVK)  1.20.16

5. Hassanine Sebei (TUN)  1.20.49

6. Robert Heffernan (IRL) 1.21.50

7. Horácio Nava (MEX) 1.22.15

8. Andrés Chocho (ECU) 1.22.18

9. José Leyver Ojeda (MEX) 1.22.30

10 João Vieira (POR) 1.22.44