of three countries in Dudince
Alfons Juck for IAAF
22 March 2000 - Dudince, Slovak Republic- The early spring walking season starts on a high note this Saturday in Dudince, Slovakia. Already the 19th annual 50km walk race "Dudinska patdesiatka" has assembled one of the best fields in its history, only bettered in 1998 when the race was also host to the European Race Walking Cup.
This year the race will act as the national 50km walk championships for three countries: host country Slovakia, Hungary and Ukraine. The entry lists already feature 64 athletes from Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Lithuania, Latvia, Sweden and Yugoslavia in addition to the aforementioned nations.
The most renowned athlete is Finlands 1995 World Champion Valentin Konenen, who was the winner in Dudince 1991 with 3:48:54. Past winners Hubert Sonnek, CZE (1989), Zoltan Czukor, HUN (1990), Vitaliy Popovich, UKR (1996), Stefan Malik, SVK (1995, 1997) and Alexandar Rakovic, YUG (1999) will also be lining up at the start.
The best Slovak walker, on achieving the 4 hour standard, will win an automatic berth for the Olympic Games in Sydney. The main contenders being Malik and Peter Tichy, who took part in last years World Championships in Seville.
In Slovakia the expected spring weather should be very favourable for the walkers, and the start is set for early in the morning at 8.30 am. The course record is 3:42:20 achieved by Slovak Pavol Szikora in 1987, and for those who better the time, the organisers have announced a bonus of 1000 USD.
For the women´s 20 km race a new course record is worth 250 USD (the current is 1:41:22 by Lyudmila Yegorova, UKR in 1999). Thirty women have so far entered with particularly strong Ukrainian and Hungarian Teams for this race, which is also part of the EAA walking circuit.
The President of the organising committee Mr. Stefan Pokluda, who is also the Mayor of Dudince, announced that his city is almost certain to place a bid in the near future to host the IAAF World Race Walking Cup.
Results will be available on Saturday on http://www.saz.sk