Toshikazu Yamanishi claimed Japan’s first 10,000m Race Walk victory in the 14-year history of the IAAF World Youth Championships in a dramatic last lap, which saw Guatemala’s Jose Alejandro Barrondo, cousin of London 2012 Olympic Games 20km Walk silver medallist Erick Barrondo, disqualified only 80 metres from the line while in the silver medal position.
Clocking the second-fastest time of the year with 41:53.80, Yamanishi was followed home by Russia’s Maksim Krasnov and Spain’s Diego Garcia, with the former winning a thrilling 'sprint' finish for the silver medal in a 42:03.10, with Garcia third in 42:03.32. All three medallists set personal bests.
The early pace had been set by Australia’s Nathan Brill who took Yamanishi through the first kilometre in 4:14.12, with Krasnov and Garcia 30 metres further back.
Brill Increased the tempo with a 4:05.78 and 4:09.29 second and third kilometre split but with 13 laps remaining, Krasnov and Garcia caught the leading duo and Brill conceded the lead just after the halfway point, which had been reached in 20:53.73.
The 17-year-old Spaniard subsequently took his turn at the head of the pack with Yamashita and Barrondo, who moved up quickly after being fifth at halfway, in close contention.
With eight laps remaining, a group of five were packed tightly together as Garcia, Yamanishi and Barrondo moved into the medal positions, although the pace had relented slightly with the sixth kilometre taking 4:19.02 and the seventh kilometres split being 4:20.62.
At 8000m, Krasnov moved to the front and increased the tempo again as Brill paid for his early exuberant tempo and dropped off the group.
The 9000m mark was reached in 38:01.30, Barrondo moved back to the front with two laps to go as Garcia looked to have lost his chance of a medal, losing touch with Yamanishi and Krasnov who were closely shadowing the Guatemalan.
Yamanishi, 17, then decided to kick for home from 600m out and Barrondo was left 10 metres adrift, with 17-year-old Krasnov another 10 metres back.
As the Japanese athlete sped to victory, with a 3:52.50 final kilometre, Barrondo suffered his dramatic disqualification with only 80 metres and, with the surprise opportunity for a medal upgrade, Krasnov and Garcia battled right to the line. Japan’s Yuga Yamashita and Brill finished fourth and fifth respectively with a 42:07.94 personal best and 42:54.70.
Krasnov’s silver follows Russia’s fine tradition in this event with six victories in eight editions of this championship while Garcia, perhaps surprisingly considering his country’s walking tradition, claimed Spain’s first ever medal in this event.