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Nov 26 - Dec 8, 2019
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Yamanishi wins 20km race walk gold

Japan claim their second race walk medal after Yusuke Suzuki’s win in the 50km walk.
Race Walk Winners
Japan’s Toshikazu Yamanishi (centre), Sweden’s Perseus Karlstrom (left) and ANA’s Vasily Mizinov on the Corniche after finishing the 20km men’s race walk on Friday. Photo: Getty Images for IAAF

True to this season’s form and expectations, Japan’s Toshikazu Yamanishi won the 20km walk at the 17thWorld Championships in athletics with a time of 1:26:34 on the Corniche on Friday night.

The bespectacled Yamanishi went into the race with the best time this season and was the favourite to win the gold. The predictions seemed bang on target as the 23-year-old Japanese walker took control of the race about 8 kilometres after the start and crossed the finish line well ahead of the rest.

The time did not make the top-five list this season but given the heat and humidity, it was enough to give Yamanishi his moment of World Championship glory.

Authorised Neutral Athlete Vasily Mizinov clocked 1:26:49 for the silver. Perseus Karlstrom of Sweden won his country’s first race walk medal in a world championship when he finished third in a time of 1:27:00.

Yamanishi said that his strategy had worked to perfection.

“I wanted to make the leading group a smaller pack and to attack in the first part of the race. I didn’t want the race to be slow and have a huge leading group close to the finish. I think this manoeuvre was the key to my win,” said Yamanishi.

Yamanishi also said advice from the winner of the men’s 50km walk, Yusuke Suzuki, helped him cope with the conditions.

“He advised me how to battle the humidity and the environment. I used a towel around my neck and it made the race a bit easier. Before coming to Doha, we trained together at an international camp and exchanged ideas on tactics and strategy for the races in Doha,” said Yamanishi.

Of the 52 who started the race, 40 completed it. Seven competitors did not finish and five were disqualified.