21/05/2021   A look into the future - part two: 20km women




This year, although the pandemic problem has continued, some very important races have been held that can make us make an in-depth examination of the future prospects in view of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. The Olympic competition will take place in Sapporo: Thursday 6 August starting at 16:30 (local time - 9:30 in Europe).
Current projections on weather conditions give us a temperature between 24°-26° degrees. Humidity should be around 60%-70%.
As you can easily see the atmospheric conditions will be very different from those that the athletes have found in the competitions held in recent months, apart from the Pan-American Cup races held in Guayaquil (ECU) where the conditions were very similar to those that the athletes will find. in Sapporo.
The competitions that have been examined are:
Japanese Championships in Kobe:
- 20km female  competed on February 21 in Kobe with 15°-16° degrees of temperature and 60% of humidity; course: 1km go & back;
Chinese Olympic Selections in Huangshang:
The races were held on March 20 with temperatures of 14°-16° and with humidity of 65%-70%. Course of 1km go & back.
European Championship per Team in Podebrady:
Events held on May 16th.
The course in the town park was 1km lap. The temperature was around 14°-16° with a humidity of 65%.
Guayaquil Pan-American Race walking Cup:
Events held on May 8 on a 2km course (go & back) with temperatures between 25°-26° and humidity of 75%.
Obviously, our examination lacks a race that is notoriously always of great interest to evaluate the conditions of the athletes before the important competitions: the Grand Prix Cantones de La Coruña Sergio Vasques which will take place on Saturday June 5, and in which the Chinese athletes, good protagonists of the last editions, will certainly not participate.
20km women


The result of the Chinese selections in Huangshan made the history of women's 20km walk.

A first place in 1:23:49 (world record); a second in 1:24:27; a third place in 1:24:45; a fifth in 1:25:51 and a sixth in 1:25:59 are times never occurred in a women's 20km.


These results put the three Chinese at least 2 minutes ahead of the other contenders for a medal. In addition, the three athletes qualified for the Olympics are all athletes with remarkable palmares and used to important competitions.

Both Liu Hong, Olympic champion and three-time world champion, both Yiang Jiayu world champion in London 2017, and Qieyang Shenjie silver at both the London Olympics and the last world championships in Doha are athletes trained to the pressure of important competitions and in addition they occupy the top three World Rankings places on the 20km women.


Therefore, after the one in Doha, another Chinese hat-trick is looming. From the results of the competitions examined, the most accredited opponents are reduced to a group of 3/4 athletes with other 5/6 outsiders.






Among the most authoritative opponents are:

- the two Italians: Antonella Palmisano, winner in 1:27:43 in Podêbrady and who boasts a personal best of 1:26:36 obtained at the 2017 London World Championships when she reached the bronze medal and Eleonora Giorgi, with a personal best of 1:26:17 dated 17 May 2015 in Murcia and which this year has as its best performance 1:28:39 obtained in Grottaglie (ITA) on March 7:













- the Spanish Maria Pérez, silver in the European Cup who has a personal best of 1:26:36 recorded at the European Championships in Berlin 2018 and this year walked in 1:28:03 in Podêbrady;

- the Brazilian Erica Rocha De Sena. The Carioca athlete, who retired in the Pan-American Cup, boasts a personal best of 1:26:59 at the 2017 London World Championships where she was fourth, the same position confirmed both in the 2018 World Team Championships in Taicang and in the Doha 2019 World Championships.


With less chance of entering the medal game, the other two Spaniards seem to us: Laura Gárcia-Caro, bronze in the Czech Republic with 1:28:03 which is also a personal best and Raquel González, fourth in the European Cup in 1:28:37 touching the personal best of just one second (1:28:36 in 2014).





At the moment there are no other high-level athletes who can hope for a medal.

The Japanese Okada Kumiko and Fujii Nanako will certainly fight for a good position; the Colombian Sandra Arenas; Jemina Montag from Australia and Ana Cabecinha from Portugal.

The young women, on the other hand, will be unknown: Meryem Bekmez (Turkey) and the Ecuadorian Glenda Morejón.


As for males, there is the unknown factor of Russian athletes.

Who will be given the opportunity to compete?

We do not believe it is possible for Yelena Lashmanova to participate. It could be Reyhan Kagramanova (1:26:45 this year in Sochi) and Elvira Khasanova (1:27:13 in the same match) who would be able to have their say.


As a final consideration, we draw attention to the average of the top 10 performances of the three Chinese: Liu Hong boasts an average of 1:26:08; Qieyang Shenjie averaged 1:26:28; Yang Jiayu has 1:27:02.

As you can easily see the average on the 10 performances of these athletes is very close to the best performances of the other athletes.

Only some technical problems (remember that Yang Jiayu in Doha was disqualified); some injury or some illness during the match could take away from the Chinese a probable hat-trick.