12/02/2023   Melbourne (AUS): Victories of Jemima Montag and Perseus Karlstrom at Australian 20km Open Championships



The Australian 20km Race Walking Championships will be held at Melbourne’s Fawkner Park, beginning at 7:00am AEDT, valid as Bronze Level in Race Walking World Tour.

Australian and international talent will highlight the Australian 20km Racewalking championships, with a line-up of Olympic, World Championship, European and Commonwealth medallists. Jemima Montag, Declan Tingay Antigoni Ntrismpioti , Lorena Arenas, and Evan Dunfee and Perseus Karlström headline the World Athletics Race Walking Tour bronze label event this Sunday at Melbourne’s Fawkner Park.

The Australian athletes will be searching for qualification performances and important bonus points on offer for World Championship selection, in what the athletes can expect to be in a competitive field on a proven fast Fawkner park course.


The eve preview


Challenging Australian record holder Jemima Montag will be Olympic silver medallist from Colombia Lorena Arenas and reigning double European Champion from Greece Antigoni Ntrismpioti. Like Montag in the 20km walk, the Greek star Ntrismpioti placed 4th in Oregon last year in the 35km walk, before both athletes took that good form into August by winning the Commonwealth Games and European Championships respectively. It has been Montag who has come out on top of both 10,000m walks on the track at the AIS, races during the Supernova with Montag proving the stronger over the shorter distance. 

Although a 35km specialist, Ntrismpioti also collected the 20km gold at the European championships in a PB time of 1:29:03.

The Olympic medallist Arenas showed she is returning from an injury-marred 2022 to some good form in Canberra last week and will be tested against Olympian Bec Henderson and teenage prodigy Olivia Sandery. Both Australians bypassed the second supernova race in Canberra last week, choosing to save themselves for the Australian Championships, and both are expected to challenge for a podium finish along with Ecuador’s Magaly Bonilla.


The international attraction in the men’s 20km walk is the winner of the past two editions of the World Athletics Race Walking Tour is Sweden’s Perseus Karlström.  Karlström has previously kick-started his World Championship medal winning form with strong wins at the Australian Championships in from 2018 -2020. Australian summers have been favourable to Karlström in the past and he would have expected to continue to continue his unbeaten run of 10 consecutive races across all distances from January 2018-february 2020 in Canberra last Thursday evening. Despite racing to his fastest 10,000m walk on Australian soil, Karlström was beaten by Australian Declan Tingay who was impressive when breaking a long-standing Australian record that had withstood all challenges the list of past and present previous Australian Olympic medallists.

With Karlström boasting a 20km PB from 2019 of 1:18:07, and rarely finishes outside of the 1:20:10 Automatic qualification standard for Oregon, the Australians led by Declan Tingay, Rhydian Cowley, and Kyle Swan will be joined by Canadian Commonwealth Champion and Olympic medallist Evan Dunfee to ensure there is a fast early pace.



Short reports


20km women


Walking side by side at Melbourne’s Fawkner Park with double European champion Antigoni Ntrismpioti, Jemima Montag appeared to be locked in a tight tussle for line honours as the pair raced in unison. She make her move at the 15km mark, and proceeded to walk away from her Greek competitor with a 21:35 split for the final 5km en route to her fourth consecutive Australian 20km title – revealing the tactics post-race:

Last year was about breaking the national record and today was about helping someone else break theirs. Antigoni [Ntrismpioti] and I have been training together all throughout January, so I thought I would set her up for that to 15km and then walk how an international race is always won, which is a really firm injection of speed at 15km,” Montag said.


Antigoni Ntrismpioti in any case set a new Greek record of 1:28:12, while rising Australian talents including Olympian Rebecca Henderson (coached by Simon Baker) and U20 representative Olivia Sandery (coached by Jared Tallent) pushed each other to new career-bests. 

Rebecca Henderson stopped the clock in 1:29:54 for national silver, closely followed by the 20-year-old Sandery in 1:30:14 – setting up a new trio of Australian women to take on the world.




Arrival order


Victory to Jemima Montag (AUS) in 1:28:00

Second place to Antigoni Ntrismpioti (GRE) in 1:28:12 new Greek record and obviously new personal best (the previous best was 1:29:03 established in Munich, GER on 20.8.2022)

Third place, but silver to Australian Championships, to Rebecca Henderson new personal best (the previous best was 1:31:44 established in Adelaide, AUS on 13.2.2022)

Fourth place, and bronze to Australian Championships, to Olivia Sandery in 1:30:14 new personal best (the previous best was 1:34:35 established in Melbourne, AUS on 15.5.2022)


Below the updated world list of 10 best performances 




  Mark Competitor Nat Venue Date
1:28:00 Jemima MONTAG AUSAUS Fawkner Park, Melbourne (AUS) 13 FEB 2023
1:28:12 Antigoni NTRISMPIOTI GREGRE Fawkner Park, Melbourne (AUS) 13 FEB 2023
1:29:54 Rebecca HENDERSON AUSAUS Fawkner Park, Melbourne (AUS) 13 FEB 2023
1:30:14 Olivia SANDERY AUSAUS Fawkner Park, Melbourne (AUS) 13 FEB 2023
1:31:21 Lorena ARENAS COLCOL Fawkner Park, Melbourne (AUS) 13 FEB 2023
1:33:48 Magaly BONILLA ECUECU Fawkner Park, Melbourne (AUS) 13 FEB 2023
1:34:49 Allanah PITCHER AUSAUS Fawkner Park, Melbourne (AUS) 13 FEB 2023
1:35:03 Enni NURMI FINFIN Fawkner Park, Melbourne (AUS) 13 FEB 2023
1:35:41 Alexandrina MIHAI ITAITA Milazzo (ITA) 29 JAN 2023
10  1:36:28 Natalia ALFONZO VENVEN Santee, CA (USA) 15 JAN 2023




20km men


Three-time World Championships medallist Perseus Karlstrom (SWE) returned to his best to take line honours for the men in the 20km with one of the fastest times ever walked on Australian soil, 1:19:27, pulling Declan Tingay through to a personal best of his own and yet another national title.





The early pace was aided by a strong quartet featuring Kyle Swan (coached by Jared Tallent) and Olympic medallist Evan Dunfee (CAN), with Kyle Swan holding on to take national silver in 1:22:52 and Rhydian Cowley (coached by Brent Vallance) claiming bronze in 1:23:05. Dunfee finished third outright in 1:20:52.

“The boys really put me to work today and I am glad they did. I didn’t plan to go that fast, so a big thanks to Kyle Swan for setting the pace up early, and to Perseus Karlstrom for tearing my legs off at half way, and Evan Dunfee for pushing me along,” Tingay said.


Arrival order


Victory to Perseus Karlstrom (SWE) in 1:19:27

Second place, but gold to Australian Championships, to Declan Tingay (AUS) in 1:20:20

Third place to Evan Dunfee (AUS) in 1:20:52

Fourth place,  but silver to Australian Championships, to Kyle Swan (AUS) in 1:22:52

Fifth place and bronze to Australian Championships, to Rhydian Cowley (AUS) in 1:23:05


Below the updated world list of 10 best performances 



  Mark Competitor Nat Venue Date
1:19:27 Perseus KARLSTRÖM SWESWE Fawkner Park, Melbourne (AUS) 13 FEB 2023
1:20:20 Declan TINGAY AUSAUS Fawkner Park, Melbourne (AUS) 13 FEB 2023
1:20:40 Yutaro MURAYAMA JPNJPN Tokyo (JPN) 01 JAN 2023
1:20:52 Evan DUNFEE CANCAN Fawkner Park, Melbourne (AUS) 13 FEB 2023
1:21:36 Xianghong HE CHNCHN Milazzo (ITA) 29 JAN 2023
1:21:39 Andrea COSI ITAITA Milazzo (ITA) 29 JAN 2023
1:21:39 Kaihua WANG CHNCHN Milazzo (ITA) 29 JAN 2023
1:21:52 And Eduardo OLIVAS NÚÑEZ MEXMEX Santee, CA (USA) 15 JAN 2023
1:22:18 Subaru ISHIDA JPNJPN Tokyo (JPN) 01 JAN 2023
10  1:22:50 Kazuya IWAI JPNJPN Tokyo (JPN) 01 JAN 2023


U20 events


The junior events were headlined by Owen Toyne (Matt Giggs) who carved over 60-seconds off the Australian Under 18 record (pending ratificaiton) in the 5km race walk (road), delivering a stunning performance of 20:55 to eclipse the previous mark of 21:58.00. Australian representative Marcus Wakim (Adam Garganis) took out the Under 20 10km event in a personal best time of 42:42.



(Photos from Athletics Australia facebook page)




Official results