Jiang Jing (China) (Getty Images) © Copyright
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Dudince, a Chinese festival in all but name

Dudince, SlovakiaThe 24th annual international Race Walking meeting ‘Dudinska patdesiatka’ - EAA Permit meeting - was held in Dudince (South Slovakia) on Easter Saturday (26 March).

A group of 15 Chinese walkers took nearly all the top places. Two competed in the men’s 50km and took the top positions, while another nine men competed at 20km and swamped the top six places (one did not finish, and two were disqualified). In the women’s 20km race from the Chinese quartet three occupied the podium spots and one was disqualified.

Two meeting records were bettered (20km for men and women) and a third one held by Valentin Kononen from Finland since 2000 (50km 3:39:34) was missed by yesterday’s race winner and world leader Han Yucheng by only 56 seconds.

Men's 50km

Han Yucheng who set the world’s third best mark in history (3:36:20) at national championships was leading the race from the begin. At 20 km (1:29:09) his fellow countryman Gadasu Alatan was behind by 40 seconds.

”My main goal was to break the course record, that was also the reason to change my initial plan of competing at 20km. But otherwise I must be satisfied because 3:40 is always a very good time,“ confirmed Han. His prize money was 500 USD instead of 1000 USD for new course record.

Alatan from the inner Mongolian part of China finished far behind his but still well before the Russian third placer Sergey Melentyev. Both Chinese walkers achieved their third best marks ever and Melentyev could be happy even with personal best after the finish line. The mark of Han is 32nd best ever performance in history.

Men’s 20km
 
The 20km winner Zhu Hongyun bettered his personal best by 6 seconds and achieved the fourth fastest time of the year. The second placer Lu Ronghua went under 1:20 for the first time in his career, and the most experienced from Chinese team Yu Chaohong (already 28 years) went also under 1:20 in third position. The youngest, only 18 years old Li Jianbo in the fifth place improved his best to 1:21:51.

Women’s 20km

World Junior record holder Song Hongjuan won the women’s contest in new meeting record (first time under 1:30) of 1:28:37 and was able to beat her country rivals Jiang Jing and 2000 Olympic Champion Wang Liping. Thereby she took revenge following their defeat of her at February’s national champs (1. Jiang 1:27:19, 2. Wang 1:27:24, 3. Song 1:28:26).

The event held in rain and slight wind and with temperatures around 10 degrees was one of a few where athletes can fulfill the IAAF standards for World Championships in Helsinki. Except of IAAF Walking Challenge meetings and European Cup only other four walking meetings in Europe have that status (apart of Dudince, remaining are Podebrady, CZE, Leamington, GBR and Dublin, IRL). International group of walking judges (from 7 countries) was headed by british experienced judge Peter Marlow.

Alfons Juck for the IAAF

Results

Men

50 km: 1. Han Yucheng,CHN  3:40:30, 2. Gadasu Alatan,CHN 3:47:23, 3. Sergey Melentyev, RUS 3:57:10, 4. Janos Toth,HUN 4:01:53 (HUN-Champion), 5. Milos Holusa,CZE 4:03:42, 6. Martin Pupis 4:05:04 (SVK-Champion), 7. Gyula Dudas,HUN 4:08:21, 8. Daugvinas Zujus,LIT 4:10:31 (LIT-Champion),...12. Steve Partington,GBR 4:23:51,...dnf: Czukor,HUN, Bruvelis,LAT, Erokhin,RUS, Rakovic,SMG, dq: Manuel Hurato, ESP

20 km: 1. Zhu Hongyun, CHUN 1:18:37 MR/PR, 2. Lu Ronghua, CHN 1:18:50 PR, 3. Yu Chaohong,CHN 1:19:29, 4. Zhao Chengliang,CHN 1:21:51, 5. Li Jianbo,CHN 1:21:51 PR, 6. Xing Shucai,CHN 1:22:24, 7. Silviu Casandra,ROM 1:22:28, 8. Ondrej Kocur 1:26:59, 9. Radovan Elko 1:28:22, dnf: Liu Yunfeng,CHN, dq: Malysa,CZE, Xu Xingde,CHN, Cui Zhide,CHN

Women

20 km: 1. Song Hongjuan,CHN 1:28:37 MR, 2. Jiang Jing, CHN 1:29:31, 3. Wang Liping, CHN 1:30:16, 4. Vera Zozulya,UKR 1:33:29, 5. Jolanta Dukure,LAT 1:34:57, 6. Maria Galikova 1:40:51, 7. Alexandra Juti,GRE 1:41:42, ...9. Landmann,GER 1:46:33, dq: Bai Yanmei,CHN

Juniors

10 km men: 1. Ingus Janevics,LAT 42:02, 2. Tibor Marta,HUN (87) 44:44
10 km women: 1. Krisztina Kernacs,HUN 49:17

Youth (U17)
10 km boys: 1. Arnis Rumbenieks,LAT (88) 46:01
5 km girls: 1. Kata Csere, HUN (88) 25:17, 2. Barbora Strnadova (89) 25:45

Masters 5 km: 1. Peter Ryan,GBR (54) 25:39