Thursday, December 08, 2022 | Jumada al-ula 13, 1444 H
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21°C / 21°C

Wang takes 10km title in Muscat

Many of the world's best race walkers are competing on Friday and Saturday (4-5 March) in the World Athletics Race Walking Team Championships Muscat 2022, starting Oman Convention & Exhibition Centre (OCEC).

In the end, the U20 men’s 10km at the World Athletics Race Walking Team Championships Muscat 22 went to form – but not in the way expected.

A terrific walk from Wang Hongren, sporting immaculate style, saw the Chinese cross first, but barely 100 metres earlier he was seemingly battling for third at best.

A dramatic finale saw leader Amit Khatri striding to gold only to be pulled in to the penalty zone and watch his hopes and India’s quest for a first individual gold dashed. Seconds later, world U20 champion Heristone Wanyonyi from Kenya suffered the same fate and let in Wang and compatriot Zeng Yu, the two fastest in the field on paper.

Wang hit the line and almost the deck in a mixture of exhaustion and triumph, but Zeng saw a blue flash over his shoulder that proved to be Diego Giampaolo of Italy.

In fact, in the final straight, the Italian wrongly assumed he had been called into the penalty zone, but he quickly recovered to overtake Zeng and dip at the line for a surprise second place.

In an event that saw the early morning temperature rise to 27C, the race fascinatingly ebbed and flowed throughout. Jaromir Moravek shot away from the start with Christiaan Bester from South Africa, head tilted, in close order, with the rest strung out in a line across the road.

The first kilometre was timed at 4:25; but Bester was caught before the end of the first two-kilometre loop, reached by the Czech leader in 9:08 that reflected the uphill climb on the way back. Finland’s Sajan Irincheev started to give chase, but the rest were ominously biding their time even though Moravek got to halfway in 23:07.

A swift ninth kilometre proved decisive for Jiang Yunyan as she strode to victory in the U20 women's 10km on Friday (4) at the World Athletics Race Walking Team Championships Muscat 22.

A few minutes before the race got underway, the competitors observed a ‘Moment for Ukraine’ with athletes from several nations holding up the Ukrainian flag, while World Athletics President Sebastian Coe laid down a bouquet of blue and gold flowers. Valeriya Sholomitska, the sole Ukrainian entrant in Muscat, shed a few tears but maintained her composure as she took to the start line.

With temperatures hovering around 21C, the race set off at a steady pace with the first kilometre covered in 5:07 as athletes tried to get a feel for the course. The two-kilometre loop, one of the more challenging circuits used at the World Race Walking Team Championships, has a 27-metre difference between the highest and lowest points.

The Oman Athletic Association (OAA) today joined World Athletics as a signatory of the United Nations Climate Change Sports for Climate Action Framework, underscoring the sport’s commitment to the fight against climate change.

OAA President Sheikh Salim bin Al Amri made the commitment at a ceremony at Al Haid North Beach in Muscat where athletes from several countries competing at this weekend's World Athletics Race Walking Team Championships Muscat 22 participated in a beach clean-up to mark World Wildlife Day and World Athletics’ commitment to the UN Clean Seas pledge.

This action by Oman’s athletics governing body comes just three days after the release of the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report that warned that the impacts of climate change are dangerously outpacing the world's ability to adapt to those impacts. West Asian countries like Oman, the report said, are especially vulnerable to rising temperatures, drought and increased water scarcity. Any further delay in global action on adaptation and mitigation, the report’s authors concluded.

"As a coastal state, the Sultanate of Oman is especially vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, including sealevel rise, precipitation variabilities and extremes and desertification which directly affect the health of its population, infrastructure and water resources. The OAA's commitment to the Sport for Climate Action Framework is in line with Oman's Vision 2040, which includes a strong focus on environmental sustainability."

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