17/07/2022   Focus on Kimberly Garcia-Leon




Now we can say with certainty: another South American athlete, Gabriela Kimberly Garcia-Leon, has also entered the club of the "top competitors".

For most people, it may be a new name, a flower that has blossomed in this 2022 season, but for the people of the world of walking it is not.
The beautiful 28-year-old Peruvian (she will turn 29 next October 19) has been one of the great athletes of the South American continent for years.
We had personally observed her in Rio Maior (POR) on the occasion of the 26th Grande Premio International de Marcha in which she had imposed herself in a fairly easy and peremptory way in 1:31:00 on the almost contemporary Colombian Sandra Lorena Arenas (17 September 1993) which had been detached by only 13 seconds, and had immediately appeared to us as one of those walkers who leave their mark on history.


Unfortunately, in the following years her career has always been quite fluctuating.

In 2018 she did get some victories in Peru and Bolivia and some placings in Ecuador and Mexico, but in the most important race that of the Team World Championship in Taicang she only got the eighth place. Even at a chronometric level it was a very fluctuating season with times between 1:38:03 and 1:28:56.

She made some slight improvements in the following season (2019) but with only three races to go, due to injuries, but with incredible continuity (from 1:29:33 to 1:29:00).

Injuries were her more serious problems than her that afflicted the year not only in 2019, but also in 2020, the year in which she, also thanks to the pandemic, she did not compete.


It seemed that the acute of Rio Maior 2017 had been removed from the mind like that of a meteor, when she was returning to competitions in the Olympic season with the aim of participating in Sapporo and also doing well.

She achieves the Olympic standard with seventh place in La Coruna on 5.6.2021 with a time that does not satisfy her (1:32:13), but previously at the Pan-American Cup in Guayaquil she had not completed the race.

Nor will she be joyful for Kimberly in Sapporo. After the first 4km in the top 10 positions, a gradual decline in performance then leads her to abandon after the 16km that she passed in 29th position in 1:16:30.


The turning point comes in 2022, when Kimberly decides to be technically followed by Andres Chocho, the partner of Erica De Sena.

This partnership begins to bear fruit.

At Dudince in April she achieved a brilliant 2:43:19 on the 35km (South American record) behind Qieyang Shenjie, but already in Muscat she had obtained the bronze in the 20km.

Finally a brilliant season in which the third place in Muscat is just the least good result.

The clashes with the Chinese Qieyang continue throughout the season and are always in favor of the Chinese athlete.

But Kimberly becomes aware of her worth and also gets a valuable temple over the 10km distance.


The cherry on the cake on Friday when she finally manages to overtake Qieyang (who will then also lose the silver) and to give a further cut to her personal best in the 20km.

From the 1:28:56 of Taicang 2018, and passing through the 1:28:38 of La Coruna, Eugene gives her the great balance of quality of her: 1:26:59.

Obtained with a truly wonderful walk, as well as the one shown by the opponent Qieyang until they were together with the 14km.

The two made us understand once more that you can walk divinely even at very high speeds, and the judges appreciated leaving them immune from any call.

Perhaps they will meet again on Friday 22 July for the revenge of Dudince and the 20km.