11/07/2021   A difficult time for the European men's U23 race walk




The U23 European Championships began their history in 1997 with the edition of Turku (FIN).
This one in Tallin (EST) is the thirteenth edition and therefore 39 medals have been awarded in total.
In the history of these Championships, the European Nation that has won the most medals ever is Russia with 12 medals won between 1997 and 2015 inclusive, since the ban on exclusion took place after the dispute of the European Championships. To it must be added a medal won by a Russian athlete, but who competed as ANA in 2019.
We report in the table below the list of Nations with the number of medals and how many of these are gold.



Nation Total medals Gold medals
Russia 12 + 1 4 + 1
Spain 9 5
Belarus 4 -
Italy 4 -
Poland 2 2
Germany 2 -
Latvia 1 1
Turket 1 -
Great Britain 1 -
France 1 -
Ireland 1 -
Total 39 13



Instead, we report in the table below year by year the results obtained by the medal winners



Year Gold Silver Bronze Average
1997 1:19:58 1:21:59 1:22:26 1:21:28
1999 1:23:42 1:24:04 1:24:25 1:24:04
2001 1:23:03 1:23:10 1:23:16 1:23:10
2003 1:22:07 1:24:04 1:24:28 1:23:33
2005 1:23:14 1:23:30 1:23:56 1:23:33
2007 1:20:43 1:21:51 1:23:33 1:22:02
2009 1:22.23 1:22:57 1:23:00 1:22:47
2011 1:24:21 1:24:25 1:24:30 1:24:25
2013 1:21:34 1:25:04 1:25:25 1:24:01
2015 1:23:49 1:24:51 1:25:26 1:24:42
2017 1:22:29 1:22:52 1:23:06 1:22:48
2019 1:21.29 1:21:32 1:22:13 1:21:45
2021 1:25:06 1:25:50 1:26:05 1:25:40
Best 1997 2019 2019 1997
Worst 2021 2021 2021 2021




Some considerations


As shown in the table, it was, for Europe, the worst edition of these 13 editions of the U23 Europeans from a chronometric point of view. By the time of the winner, the Spaniard José Manuel Pérez, he would have won a bronze medal only in the 2013 and 2015 editions.


Without wanting to go back in history before the nineties but only dwelling on the European U23 championships, these have always been dignified by athletes who then in the future have achieved great results in the most important international events.


The list is long and full of big names: Aigar Fadajevs (LAT); Francisco Fernández (ESP); Juan Manuel Molina (ESP); Valeriy Borchin (RUS); Miguel Angel López (ESP); Massimo Stano (ITA); Alvaro Martin (ESP); Diego García (ESP) and Vasiliy Mizinov (RUS now ANA).

At the moment, we do not see in the athletes who competed in Tallin champions capable of repeating the deeds of those who preceded them.


The race on Estonian soil also confirmed the crisis that the old continent is currently going through. None of the placed athletes would have been able to do well in front of their Asian or South American peers.


Moreover, the crisis in Europe was already manifested with the results of the European Race Walking Team Championships in Podebrady, from the seasonal World Lists and, in part, from the World Rankings.


The first European of the world Top lists on the 20km is the Turkish Salih Korkmaz in 9th position.

In the top ten we find eight Asians and one Kenyan.

It is necessary to analyse first 25 positions on the world list to find a majority of athletes from the old continent: 11 are Europeans, 9 Asians, 4 South Americans and 1 Australian.


On the contrary the World Ranking is much more favourable to Europe, where in the top ten we find five Asians and five Europeans.


However, the decrease at U23 level that has been highlighted in this edition remains evident, in which the average result of the three athletes who obtained a medal is almost 1 minute higher than the less favorable one (2015: 1:24:42) of the twelve previous editions.

But the most striking example is that of David Kenny (IRL) who in 2019 in Gavle (SWE) with the mark of 1:25:43 had finished only 9th, while in this year's edition he won silver despite having recorded a time of very little higher (1:25:50).


At the moment, given the lack of Russians, the European honour is held high by the Spanish trio Diego García, Alvaro Martin and Miguel Angel López; from the Swedish Perseus Karlström and the Russian Vasiliy Mizinov.

Unfortunately, we do not see others in an Olympic perspective.


It will be the Sapporo race that will clarify whether this European slowdown seen at the U23 European Championships and in the European Team Championship in Podebrady will be interrupted or worsened further.