IAAF World Championship Race Walks
13 August 2017
The Mall, London
Great excitement as the World Championship Race Walks were announced and that the 50km and 20km would all take place on The Mall in central London. An iconic 2km course between Admiralty Arch and Buckingham Palace.
Also historic, as a women's 50km would be held as well and would be starting with the men at 07:45. Just seven women were on the start line.
Two Centurions had qualified Dom King and US Centurion Erin Taylor Talcott.
It was quite tense as we saw both Dom and Erin getting warnings and then the red cards.
For Erin, fate indeed dealt a savage blow on the race walker who did more than any other to get the women's race put on an equal footing with the men. Erin has championed the cause for inclusion at the long event for some time, but was sadly brought to a halt at 10 kilometres when she was DQ'd. And that was that.
For the rest of the race, Ines Henriques walked home in 4:05:56 to become the first women’s world 50km race walk champion – and at the same time pocketed a $160,000 for her win and world record of 4:05:56.
Yin set an Asian record of 4:08:58 in second place. Yang took bronze with a PB of 4:20:49.
Hopefully, there will be others upping the distance as all four finishers earned excellent prize money.
The only other race walker to make it to the end was Katie Burnett from the USA who set an area record of 4:21:51 as well as claiming $15,000 for fourth and beating the time limit.
Sadly , the IAAF did set off a cut off time. No doubt to ensure the start times of the 20km women and then the following mens 20km race in order to ensure that the road (The Mall) could be reopend at 16.30 after the medal presentation set for 1600-1610.
Brazil’s Nair Da Rosa missed the cut-off point deemed to be 4:17:00 going into the last two-kilometre loop and had to step off the road. Shame. Some thought needs to be given to to timetables.
The future? Perhaps that seven women will be five times that number with the medals and especially with prize money on offer.
Paul Warburton for the IAAF (edited)
Two young GB walkers competed in the womens 20km - Gemma Bridge and Bethan Davies.
Bethan was the first Brit to cross the line as she finished 29th in 1:33:10. Gemma was not far behind as she finished 40th in 1:36:04.
Next up was the Mens 20km with great hopes pinned on Tom Bosworth alongside Junior Champ Callum Wilkinson.
Callum produced a strong performance to finish 41st in 1:23:54. But sadly, Tom was dq'd just after the halfway mark whilst leading the pack.