Vera Sokolova of Russia wins the women's junior race in Naumburg (Getty Images) © Copyright
Preview Monte

PREVIEW - Men and Women’s Junior 10km - La Coruña

CarloThe 22nd IAAF World Race Walking Cup takes place this weekend in La Coruña, Spain, 13 – 14 May. There will be two junior 10km races contested, the previews for which now follow:

Junior Men 10km

The Russian team, made up of Sergei Morozov and Aleksei Grigoriev and Dmitri Shorin lead the World standings after claiming to top three positions in the Russian Winter Championships in February. Morosov, from the Mordovia Republic, was a clear winner by a minute and five seconds in a time of 39:45.

Only two non-Russians feature in the season’s top-10, Dzmitri Hamzunou of Belarus and Li Gaobo of China. However, the 16-year-old  Chinese is the fastest in the field after sensationally beating many of the world’s most experienced 20km race walkers in the third leg of the 2006 IAAF Race Walking Challenge in Yangzhou last month. The winning time of 1:18:17 was the fastest seen in the world so far in 2006.

Junior Women 10km

Two years ago, also when only 16, the diminutive Russian Vera Sokolova matched her training partner and walking idol Yelena Nikolayeva by winning the Cup in Naumburg, Germany - scuttling clear of the opposition in the Junior women's 10km race. This year, however, the Chuvash native finds herself ranked only the third best junior in Russia.

The 2005 European Junior and European Cup champion has progressed  steadily under the guidance of her coach Anatoli Nikolaiev but at the Russian Championships she trailed Yelena Ladanova (43:23) and 15-year-old Aleksandra Kudryashova (43:28). Barring disqualification, the three could produce a clean sweep considering their dominance of the world list - the closest to them on times walked this year are the Belorussians Volha Mazuronak (44:30) and Anna Drabenya (46:01).

Tim Watt for the IAAF