MUSCAT, MAR 5
Sweden’s Perseus Karlstrom donned his trademark Viking helmet towards the final stage of the 35 km race to celebrate his gold in style at the World Athletics Race Walking Team Championships Muscat 2022 on Saturday.
The former world bronze medallist finished in 2 hours 36 minutes and 14 seconds to take the top podium with a championship record.
Spaniards Alvaro Martin (2:36:54) and Miguel Angel Lopez (2:37: 27) claimed the silver and bronze medals respectively at the Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre.
Japan’s Masatora Kawano, who finished sixth in the Tokyo Olympics 50 km walk last August, claimed fourth spot. Germany’s Karl Junghannis came through for a fine fifth with Evan Dunfee, a few seconds behind, finishing sixth for Canada.
Karlstrom, whose mother Siv Gustavsson, is also a former world walking champion in 1977 and 81, said it was an interesting race.
“Today’s race was very interesting. We knew that it was going to be hot and difficult on the hills, especially the last three hills going up. My plan for the last stages was to hit the hill with three laps to go, but the Chinese athlete (Lu Ning) attacked with four laps to go. So, I decided to respond and push for the first place,” the Swedish walker, who embraced his mother after winning gold, said.
Second-placed Martin said it was satisfying that he could lead his team Spain to the world championship in the category.
“We had a long season, and we knew that we would have to do the 35 km race in Oman as we wanted to focus on the 20 km at the World Championships. The second place is a good thing to achieve on a personal level, but the most important thing today was the team emerging as the world champions,” the Spanish athlete said.
In the team rankings, Spain won the gold followed by China (silver) and Germany (bronze). Italy finished fourth.
In the women’s 35 km race, Glenda Morejon claimed the top spot with a championship record in 2:48:33, leading Ecuador to the team title.
China’s Maocuo Li claimed second spot with 2:50:26 and Katarzyna Zdzieblo of Poland finishing third in 2:51:45.
Spain’s Laura Garcia-Caro came in fourth and the Ecuador athletes swept the fifth to seventh spots. Paola Perez was followed by Magaly Bonilla and Karla Jaramillo as they ensured the team honours.
Morejon said it was a complete turn-around in her case of winning the title.
“We have been training for 35 km for only three weeks. In the early stages of the race, I was not feeling well, but I stayed calm and saved up as much energy as possible for the finish. I then started feeling better. Honestly, it was crazy! I still cannot believe what has happened,” the Ecuadorian walker said.
Behind Ecuador, Spain were second and China claimed the bronze.
JAPAN FINISH ONE-TWO
In the concluding race of men’s 20 km, Japan powered to a one-two finish with Toshikazu Yamanishi taking the honours and fellow athlete Koki Ikeda claiming the silver. Kenya’s Samuel Kireri Gathimba grabbed the bronze medal.
Yamanishi took the honours in 1:22:52, while Ikeda came second in 1:23:29 and Gathimba was ecstatic when he finished third in 1:23:29.
In the team category, Ecuador made it a double by claiming both the men’s and women’s 20 km. Japan came second and China finished third.
On the opening day, Indian women created history by claiming a historic first medal in the event when they took bronze in 10 km. China won the gold and Greece took the silver.
In overall medals tally, China were on top with 6 gold, 4 silver and 3 bronze. Ecuador were second with 3 gold and Spain third with 1 gold, 2 silver and 3 bronze. Japan finished fourth with 1 gold and 2 silver, while Sweden were fifth with 1 gold.