Sports / Track and field

Spanish walker denies China's first gold at Beijing athletics worlds

(Xinhua) Updated: 2015-08-24 10:50

Spanish walker denies China's first gold at Beijing athletics worlds


Miugel Angel Lopez (ESP) and Zhen Wang (CHN) shake hands after placing first and second in the 20km race walk in 1:19:14 and 1:19.29 during the IAAF World Championships in Athletics at National Stadium.  [Photo/Agencies] 

BEIJING - Moscow world championships bronze medalist Miguel Angel Lopez dashed China's hope to win their first men's 20km race walking title when he seized the victory here on Sunday.

Lopez beat the powerful Chinese trio to emerge victorious in Beijing's landmark national stadium Bird's Nest, improving his world championship bronze to a gold in in one hour, 19 minutes and 14 seconds, his personal best.

"The bronze medal in Moscow was important. I have been working very hard. I had strong rivals from China and Japan," said the 27-year-old.

China pinned high hopes on this event where 2012 London Olympic winner Chen Ding, London bronze medalist Wang Zhen and fourth-place finisher Cai Zelin joined force.

Wang, having received two warnings, crossed the finish line 15 seconds behind Lopez. Chen had a disappointing ninth finish in 1:21.39 while Cai was fifth in 1:20.42. Canadian Benjamin Thorne came third in 1:19.57 to set a national record.

Title favorite Yusuke Suzuki of Japan, who smashed the world record at the Asian Championships in March in 1:16:36, withdrew mid-way.

Chen said pressure and failure to deliver the strategy cost China the title.

"I am relieved now whatever the result is. I have been under much pressure this season and trained very hard," said Chen, who just turned 23 on Aug. 5.

"We could not execute our strategy. I had intended to bring our team to a higher speed during the race but failed. So after about 12km or so, I felt I ran out of steam."

Lopez verified Chen's remarks.

"I had expected a fast race. But it was not as fast as I expected," he said.

The Chinese team kept their lead for most part of the race and Wang broke off the leading group seven kilometers from finish. Lopez, however, followed at his heel and overtook the 24-year-old Chinese just one kilometer left.

"I should have followed my coach's instructions to start to speed up with five kilometers remaining. If I had done that, I believe no one could have beaten me," said Wang.

"I was more or less affected by the two warnings but it is always the question of stamina," he said.

"I hope I can do better in Rio," said Wang about his goal in the Rio Olympic Games in 2016.

It was China's second silver at the 15th world championships after Gong Lijiao finished runner-up in the women's shot put on Saturday.


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