09/05/2019   Taicang (CHN): preview

On Saturday 11 May in Taicang (China) the 7th race valid for the IAAF Race Walking Challenge will take place. Two races in the program the 20km men and the 20km women.
Taicang, located in Jangsu province, is about 150 km away from Shanghai. The city has an extensive racing tradition at this level and was also the venue for the IAAF World Race Walking Team Championships in 2014 and 2018.
Men's competition
Currently in the IAAF Race Walking Challenge the ranking in the male field sees the Spaniard García Carrera lead with 28 points in 2 races; followed by the Swedish Kalström (18 points in 2 races) and the Colombian Arévalo (16 points in two races). Unfortunately there wouldn't be both the Spanish and the Colombian world champion in the Chinese appointment.
The entry field is however very qualified will be at the start:
- Eiki Takahashi (JAP), this year able to express himself to Kobe in 1:18:00, third in the Rio Maior race and currently 4th in the IAAF ranking;
- Caio Bonfim (BRA), bronze medal at the World Championships in London and fourth in Rio Maior;
- Perseus Kalström (CHN), winner of the 2nd test in Adelaide in 1:20:05 and
- the darling of the house, Wang Kaiwa (7th in the IAAF ranking) capable of walking in Huangshan 1:19:01 this year.
Also noteworthy is the presence of the two Mexicans Palma.
All the best Chinese walkers will also be at the start because the test will be valid as a selection for the Doha World Championships.
Behind the great favorite for the qualification: Wang Kaiwa, there will be a close battle.
Four/five athletes (Cai Zelin; Zhang Jun; Jin Jiaxing; Lu Xiatong and Zhang Jiaxu) are able to approach times below 1:20:00 (weather conditions permitting because the thermometer has signed in recent days 18° minimum and 28° maximum and humidity is at 65%). We must also take into account that in the Huangshan race (March 9th) after the winner Wang Kaiwa, 15 athletes arrived in the space of 60 "so every forecast on the possible selected is, at the moment, very difficult.
The behavior of the jury will be important and decisive given the slightest difference in values ​​in the field.
Women's competition
In the women's race there will not be at the start the first three of the up to date ranking of the Challenge: the Brazilian De Sena; the Colombian Arenas and the Australian Montag.
However, among the Chinese, it will be a stellar race of great pathos in view of World selection.
The outgoing champion Yang Yiahu is already in possession of the Wild Card, the fight for the other three places is glowing. They will compete up to the last drop of sweat to win 7/8 athletes at the top of the world and able to march under or around 1:27:00.
He should not have much difficulty in qualifying Qieyang Shenjie (currently leading the World Ranking), this year already expressed in 1:25:38 and winner in Rio Maior.
For the rest it will be a fight up to the last meter.
Presumably the two places available if they play them: Yang Liujing (1:27:15 in Huangshan, class 1998); Wu Quanming (1:27:24 in the same race, class 2001); Ma Zhenxia (1:28:28 to Names in the Asian Championships, class 1998); Ma Li (1:28:55 in spring, class 2000); Wang Yingliu (P.B. = 1:28:15); Wang Na (P.B. = 1:26:29) and the super-champion Liu Hong, who after the world record of 50km wants to try to qualify also in the 20th.
Lu Xiuzhi deserves a separate discussion. We remind the second at the 2015 World Cup and bronze at the Rio Olympics that he returns after a 40-day stop due to a serious hamstring stretching and at the moment he doesn't seem able to compete at great levels yet.
There will be two races, certainly, of high level and particularly exciting for Chinese athletes.
Hopefully in non-prohibitive weather conditions and with a little common sense, the IAAF technical delegate has the good inspiration to anticipate the schedule of the races scheduled for 8:30 for males and for 10:30 for women.

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