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Event Report - Women 20 kilometre Race Walk

Ivanova is top of the Worlds

Olimpiada Ivanova regained her status as World champion this morning with a consummate display of race walking around the streets of Helsinki, as she set the first World record of the 10th IAAF World Championships in the 20km Race Walk.

Ivanova clocked 1hr 25min 41sec, bettering Yan Wang's 1:26:22 from 2001, and so will claim a $100,000 record bonus.

The silver medal went to Ryta Turava, who set a national record for Belarus, with 1:27:05, with Portugal's Susana Feitor coming through from sixth to third in the final 5km to clock 1:28:44.

In Edmonton four years ago, Ivanova had finished in a faster time as she won the World title for the first time, but road walking world records, and the criteria required to fulfil them, were first laid down by the IAAF from January 2004.

Today, the 34-year-old Russian was never headed through the 20 kilometres up and down Mannerheiminte, a street named after one of Finland's greatest war heroes and past presidents, as rivals tried to challenge her, but either faded away or failed to match Ivanova's technique.

Among those to be penalised by the judges were Jing Jiang, the Chinese champion, who was red-carded shortly after the halfway mark, and Cristina Lopez, of El Salvador, whose race was over just before 12km.

Indeed, the judging claimed other notables, including Greece's Olympic champion, Athanasia Tsoumeleka, being taken off the road within the final 4km.

Ivanova, however, did not receive a single judge's warning throughout the race, in which her 5km splits were 21:43, 42:54 and 1:04:05.