Valeriy Borchin of Russia wins the first gold medal of the 12th IAAF World Athletics Championships in the men's 20km race walk (Getty Images) © Copyright

Event Report - Men's 20Km Race Walk - Final

Valeriy Borchin (RUS) won the men’s 20km Race Walk with ease in a time of one hour 18 minutes and 41 seconds to add another title to his resumé. The 23-year-old didn’t finish his race in Osaka 2007, but coming to the Olympics as a favourite last year he showed extraordinary determination to win clearly there. Same thing was repeated at the Brandenburg Gate here in Berlin although the start of the race did offer other leaders too.

Young Chinese Wang Hao who will be 20 years old tomorrow (16 Aug) missed a medal narrowly in the Beijing Olympics with a fourth place finish there but things changed for the Inner Mongolia-born athlete here. Wang fought for the win with Borchin until 16km and eventually was a clear silver medallist in a personal best time of 1:19:06. Bronze medallist Éder Sànchez from Mexico made the significant move from his fourth place in Osaka to a medallist here. Sánchez set a season’s best 1:19:22 for the third place.

The race at the centre of the city started with three walkers trying to make a break early. Norwegian Erik Tysse with Italians Ivano Brugnetti and Giorgio Rubino were in a clear lead already after 5km which they reached in 20 minutes sharp. Tysse, the younger brother of double Olympic silver medallist in women’s 20km Walk, Kjersti Tysse Plätzer who will also compete here, had been fifth in 50km distance at both 2008 Olympics and 2007 World Championships. The 32-year-old Brugnetti was the 2004 20km Olympic and 1999 50km World Champion and 23-year-old Rubino had already placed fifth in Osaka 2007 so none of the leaders were inexperienced.

This trio lead the competition still clearly after 10 kilometres with Rubino credited as the leader clocking 39:48 at this point with Brugnetti only one second and Tysse two seconds behind. Wang Hao, Adam Rutter (AUS) and Luis López (COL) lead the chasing group which was 11 seconds behind Rubino at this point. Big news after 11 kilometres was Francisco Javier Fernández (ESP) pulling off the race. The 32-year-old had won three successive silver medals in this event 2003, 2005 and 2007.

The gap the leaders had at 10 kilometres spot however vanished before 13 kilometres and another trio broke away from the group soon after. Between 14 and 15 kilometres Borchin, Wang and López made their move quickly working their way to a significant lead. Éder Sánchez, who had moved to fourth place at this point, was already eight seconds behind the leaders after 15 kilometres with Jared Tallent (AUS), the double Olympic medallist from Beijing 2008, and Giorgio Rubino six seconds behind with Tysse falling back to seventh place 29 seconds from the top.

Borchin and Wang made another move just 500 metres after the 15km spot with López falling quickly off their place. Just with a bit more than a kilometre after this Borchin again accelerated moving to the lead on his own and was never going to surrender this place in the latter parts of the race.

Behind the medallists Giorgio Rubino was able to move back up in the placings finally bettering his fifth place finish from Osaka getting a fourth place here in 1:19:50. Luis López, who was in third place for a moment set a Colombian national record 1:20:03 for fifth place with Olympic bronze medallist Tallent finishing in sixth place this time. Early leader Tysse was seventh in 1:20:38 with another Mexican Jesus Sánchez setting a personal best time 1:20:52 for the eighth place.

The third one from the early leading trio, Ivano Brugnetti did not finish the race with Adam Rutter being disqualified.

Mirko Jalava for the IAAF