Spain completes race walk gold sweep at World Athletics Championships

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Spain swept the four titles of the race walking at the World Athletics Championships in Budapest as Alvaro Martin and Maria Perez both doubled their victories here on Thursday, reported Xinhua.

Just as he did in the men's 20km race last Saturday, Martin accelerated with 5km to go, but this time he had to battle for the leading position with Brian Daniel Pintado of Ecuador.

The 29-year-old Spaniard kept his pace with a strong finish, clinching the 35km title in a personal best and national record of 2 hours 24 minutes 30 seconds.

Pintado was four seconds behind to grab the silver medal while Tomohiro Noda, runner-up at last year's World Championships, added a bronze to his medal collection in 2:25:50.

"In the last kilometre I had to push hard because I was so tired and Pintado was so close," said Martin. "It was a tougher race today than Saturday and this medal was more difficult to win."

Martin waited near the finish line to hug his teammate Maria Perez, who dominated the women's 35km race by setting a new Championships record in 2:38:40.

Kimberly Garcia Leon from Peru was second in 2:40:52 while Greek Antigoni Ntrismpioti, 39, finished third in 2:43:22.

"I never could have thought it was possible to win two golds. It was just too hard. But the hard work and pain paid off," said Perez, who started to wave and clap hands with audience in the second to last lap, but was back to business seriously after finding out there was still one more kilometre to go.

The 27-year-old revealed that she had considered withdrawing from today's race due to problems with her hamstring after winning the 20km event.

"But I managed to get through. I felt confident about my technique today and wanted to maintain a normal rhythm throughout the race and not to damage my hamstring any more, so I really did the last 4-5km easy," said Perez, who holds the world record of 2:37:15 over the distance.

Chinese walker Bai Xueying finished 11th in the women's race in 2:49:34 while her teammates Qieyang Shijie and Li Maocuo didn't complete the race.

He Xianghong, the fastest Chinese athlete in the men's race, ranked 23rd in 2:37:21.

Source: www.dailyfinland.fi

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