Dudince, SlovakiaYohan Diniz of France, the European champion and World championships silver medallist clocked a national record and world leading 3:38:45 at the 28th “Dudinska patdesiatka” 50 km Race Walk competition on Saturday (28).
Diniz broke the French national mark of 3:40:58 set Thierry Toutain in 1996 and eclipsed his previous personal best of 3:41:39 with brought him the European title in Gothenberg in 2006.It is also the eighth best national record in the event.
“We did not plan for such a fast time, but he is a great competitor and used the chance and good conditions to his advantage,” said his coach Pascal Chirat with whom Diniz has been working only since last autumn.
After his Olympic disappointment last year when he didn’t finish, it appears the 31-year-old has rebounded. Even a crew of French television station TF2 station was in Dudince to film the European champion.
Slovak Matej Toth debuted at the distance with another national record on the day, finishing second in 3:41:32. The former Slovak record was 3:42:20 by Pavol Szikora also set in Dudince in 1987.
The competition was held in excellent conditions, about 14 degrees and wind-less.
“I could not dream about this, I was thinking maybe to break 3:50, but to achieve the Slovak record, not at all,” Toth said.
Another five walkers went under the IAAF A-standard for the World Championships in Berlin (3:58). Third was Irishman Jamie Costin whose 3:51:51 was also a new national record. Poland´s Olympian Rafal Augustyn also debuted at the distance with 3:52:16, with Colin Griffin of Ireland (3:53:54) fifth. He was the former Irish record holder with 3:51:32 from his victory here in 2007). Tadas Suskevicius of Lithuania (3:54:40, missed his PB from last year in Dudince by only 3 seconds) was sixth with Slovak Milos Batovsky (3:55:35) seventh.
Ukrainan Lyudmyla Shelest won the women’s 20 km race in 1:34:17 ahead of Swedish record holder Monica Svensson (1:34:31) and another Ukrainian Vira Zozulya (1:35:52). Zuzana Malikova who won her sixth Slovak title (1:37:40) was fourth.
In the men’s 20 km race, Jakub Jelonek of Poland took the win after missing his personal best by just one second in 1:22:58. Serbian Vladimir Savanovic won the new category 35 km race for U23 (2:46:14) and there was also high quality in junior 10 km race as David Tomala of Poland (42:12) beat German Hagen Pohle (42:19).
Alfons Juck for the IAAF