London, Aug 13 (IANS) Portugal’s Ines Henriques won the inaugural women’s 50km race walk world title in style, setting a world record of four hours five minutes and 56 seconds on the final day of the London World Athletics Championships here on Sunday.
Henriques broke her old mark of 4:08:26 hours set earlier this year to become the first female winner of the 50km race walk at the world championships, reports Xinhua news agency.
“It is great that the 50km is at the world championships despite the fact that it is a really hard event. The last 5kms were really tough,” said Henriques, 37, “My goal was to go under 4 hours and 6 minutes, so I am really happy with this time.”
A pair of unknown Chinese athletes became the surprising medallists as Yin Hang won the silver in an Asian record time of 4:08:58 and Yang Shuqing set a personal best of 4:20:49 to bag the bronze.
Yin, 20, was just in her second formal competition of the 50km race, the first being a domestic trial.
“I am so excited to win the silver because this was my first international competition. But to tell the truth, I had hoped I could win a gold,” said Yin. “I think the road surface is kind of hard so my knees hurt a little now.”
In the men’s race, three-time European champion Yohann Diniz of France savoured the world championships glory at the age of 39.
Diniz finished the most strenuous event in 3:33:12, a Championship record time, to become the oldest male athlete in World Championships history to claim a gold medal.
Although the Frenchman’s winning time was short of his own world record of 3:32:33, it is the second fastest time in history.
Japanese Hirooki Arai took the silver in 3:41:17 and his fellow countryman Kai Kobayashi was third in 3:41:19.
In the men’s 20kms race walk, Eider Arevalo claimed Colombia’s first gold medal at this edition.
Arevalo, the former world junior champion, recorded a new national record of 1 hour 18 minutes and 53 seconds, also improving his previous best by 52 seconds.
Authorised neutral athlete Sergei Shirobokov finished runner-up with two seconds adrift. Brazil’s Caio Bonfim ranked third in 1:19:04.
China’s Wang Kaihua finished seventh.
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