Matej Toth of Slovakia celebrates winning the men's 50km race in Chihuahua (Getty Images) © Copyright
General News

Hot wind plays in Toth's favour in Chihuahua

It was an ill wind that blew Matej Toth a power of good.

The surprise IAAF World Race Walking Cup 50km winner admitted if it hadn’t blown so strongly around the Deportivo Sur course in Chihuahua - the Slovakian might not have been bouncing around on top of the podium at the end.

He said: “If the wind hadn’t picked up in the last 10km, I don’t think I would have won the gold.

“Horacio (Nava, silver) and Jared (Tallent, bronze) were tired and it played in my favour.

“My race plan was always to start easy like in training - and to give everything in the last 10km.

“I did not feel the heat, and when I realised I could be on the podium, euphoria took over.”

However, Horacio Nava was a shocked silver medallist when he looked set for top honours for all but the last kilometre when Toth took charge.

The Mexican admitted he might still take flak for going to the front in the difficult conditions.

He said: “I thought after working so hard for 48km I would get a better result. But today was not about time - it was about getting on the podium.

“It was a big surprise to be passed in the last kilometre. I was criticised for adopting a similar strategy in Berlin at the World Championships last year - but I was motivated by being with Jared Tallent - and I wanted a medal.

“I thought I had gold, but I’m still learning, and maybe I’m not ready for first just yet.”

The Australian bronze medallist and pre-race favourite paid dearly for a bout of sickness at 30km.

After recovering, he caught up with Nava, but had nothing left for a final push.

He said: “I was better after being sick, and felt a surge as I caught up with Horacio. But I did not manage to get over the dehydration the sickness took out of me.

“And the wind also made me suffer. So in the end I was glad to finish at all - never mind making it to third place.”

Paul Warburton for the IAAF