The 2013-2016 IAAF Strategic Plan has six Core Values: universality, leadership, unity, excellence, integrity and solidarity, and a Vision Statement: “To lead, govern and develop the sport of athletics in all its forms worldwide, uniting the Athletics Family in a spirit of excellence, integrity and solidarity.”
Strongly boosted by his fellow Colombian Sandra Arenas’ bronze medal in the female Race Walk event held on Wednesday, Eider Arévalo bagged the first ever gold medal for his country at any event in the history of the championships.
Arévalo set a new World leading performance of 40:09.74 to beat Russia’s Aleksandr Ivanov, silver medallist in a PB of 40:12.90 while China’s Guanyu Su picked up the bronze in another career best of 40:16.87.
For the delight of the walkers the day dawned cloudy and by the time of the start (9am) the temperature was reasonably comfortable for an endurance competition. Even so, the early kilotemetres were covered not especially fast with splits in the 4:05-4:09 range for a halfway time of 20:34.07.
It was Japan’s Takumi Saito who led the main group by then which also include Arévalo, Ivanov, the Chinese pair of Su and Jiaxing Yin, Spain’s Álvaro Martín, Mexico’s Jesús Vega and Ukraine’s Ihor Lyashchenko.
Shortly afterwards, Lyashchenko began to share the lead with Saito while Ivanov and Martín were always in close attendance. By contrast, the eventual winner Arevalo and Vega were never far from the leaders but they remained at the back of the main group for much of the race.
To the delight of the crowd Martín took a short-lived lead but still enough to leave behind the Ukrainian before the 7000m point was hit in 28:49.63. The fireworks began when Su moved to the front to inject a lethal pace which could only be resisted by Arévalo, Ivanov, Saito and Martín but a brisk 3:55.91 eighth kilometre proved to be too fast for the Spaniard who lost any chance of a podium place some 1500m remaining.
Su completed a terrific ninth kilometre in 3:45.74 but he was given then a second warning. With two laps to go Ivanov led from Arévalo, a cautious Su and Saito who began to pay his early efforts and lost ground some 650m from the tape when the Colombian unleashed a powerful burst of speed looking for the gold medal.
It became clear then that Arévalo, Ivanov, and Su would occupy the coveted podium places ahead of Saito and Martín. Arévalo and Ivanov finished in the same positions at last May’s World Cup in Saransk.
At the bell Arévalo still had Ivanov in hot pursuit but both had managed to leave behind Su. It was around 150m to go that Ivanov surrendered to Arévalo’s relentless rhythm, while a lonesome Su managed to keep Saito at bay to secure the bronze medal. The Japanese found some consolation in a National record of 40:19.10 while the Spanish medal hope Martín set a massive career best by a full minute to clock 40:35.52.
Arévalo, who clocked an awesome 3:38.46 closing 1000m, will now head for a training camp in Newcastle to build-up for the London Olympics where he will be contesting the 20km senior Race.