Olympic Games - OG 2021 Maschile

Tokyo 2020 (Sapporo)


20km men


Report of the race

The start is given punctually at 4:30pm.
Quite slow start on the 4:18/km pace.
The first 2km see Toshikazu Yamanishi (JPN) in the lead in 8:29, but soon after Wang Kaihua (CHN) lengthens the pace which is followed by Sandeep Kumar (IND).
The two gain about ten meters which then turn into ten seconds.
- 5:03 pm
We are at 8km with the couple Wang Kaihua (CHN) and Sandeep Kumar (IND) still in the lead. The group of chasers is 12 athletes.
Meanwhile one of the most interesting athletes in the race Salih Korkmaz (TUR) was forced to abandon the race shortly after 5km when he was still in the leading group. A probable muscle strain put an end to his desire for glory.
- 5:12 pm
We are halfway through the race.
Still the leader is Wang Kaihua (CHN) who moved up to 10km in 40:55. Sandeep Kumar (IND) took two red cards per contact and returned to milder advice by breaking away (he is now in 12th position)
The group of chasers is made up of Toshikazu Yamanishi, Koki Ikeda, Massimo Stano (ITA), Diego Garcia (ESP), Alvaro Martin (ESP), Zhang Jun (CHN) and Vasiliy Mizinov (ANA) who, however, has two reds cards per contact.
In the meantime Jose Alejandro Barrondo (GUA) who had passed 28th at 9km collected 5 red cards and was disqualified.
- 5:36 pm
We are at 16km led by a group composed of Massimo Stano, Diego Garcia, Toshikazu Yamanishi, Koki Ikeda, Wang Kaihua, Zhang Jun and Alvaro Martin.
The passage is 1:05:38 and Massimo Stano must lead.
Behind them is Christopher Linke (GER) at 11 seconds.
Another favorite, Vasiliy Mizinov, who between 12km and 13km had been stopped for 120 seconds in the penalty area and had restarted, suffers the fourth red card (all four by contact) and is disqualified before the 14km.
5:43 pm
At 18km the fight for medals, except for interventions by the jury, is well defined.
Shortly after the 17km Massimo Stano, Toshikazu Yamanishi and Koki Ikeda have lengthened the pace and cleared Alvaro Martin, Diego Garcia and Wang Kaihua.
Perseus Karlastrom (SWE) in the shade all day is only in 9th position preceded also by the very young Zhang Jun.
- Last two km
The color of the medals will be decided in the last two laps and the technical situation will also be important. At 17km the first three were exempt from red cards.
The first to receive a red cards is Yamanishi shortly after the passage to 18km.
Massimo Stano takes the lead at the bell with Koki Ikeda (1:17:22) at his ribs. Toshikazu Yamanishi strangely raises the white flag and is 6 seconds behind.
Within three minutes, both Ikeda (5:45 pm) and Stano (5:48 pm) receive a red card (for lack of contact), just as Stano stretched and gained a couple of seconds. At 5:49 pm Ikeda receives the second red card that puts an end to the fight for the heaviest medals.
The three think for a moment and are about to cross the finish line in their consolidated positions.
Gold to Massimo Stano (ITA) in 1:21:05
Silver to Koki Ikeda (JPN) in 1:21:14
Bronze to Toshikazu Yamanishi (ITA) in 1:21:28
Fourth place to Alvaro Martin (ESP) in 1:21:46
Fifth place to Christopher Linke (GER) in 1:21:50
Sixth place to Diego Garcia (ESP) in 1:21:57
Seventh place to Wang Kaihua (CHN) in 1:22:03
Eighth place to Zhang Jun (CHN) in 1:22:16




From the web-site of World Athletics (by Bob Ramsak)



Propelled by a relentless final kilometre charge, Massimo Stano held off Japanese favourites Koki Ikeda and Toshikazu Yamanishi to take the 20km race walk title in Sapporo on Thursday (5), the third Olympic crown for Italy in this event and the third gold medal for his nation at these Olympic Games.


While Stano has been a regular on the race walk circuit for the better part of the last decade, the 29-year-old didn't have a single senior regional, continental or global medal to his name until he crossed the finish line this afternoon in this city's central Odori Park, nine seconds clear of Ikeda.

"Every day in my mind, I repeated: 'I am the strongest, I am the strongest', and I was," said Stano, who crossed the finish line sucking his right thumb, a motion to dedicate his victory to his four-month-old daughter, Sophie. "My only strategy was to stay in the front.”


That strategy became apparent in the latter stages of the race, but he kept it close to his chest in the early going, preferring to watch from a significant distance as Wang Kaihua of China and India's Sandeep Kumar made the first big break of the race, the pair moving away from the 30-odd man pack just four kilometres into the contest.

Wang, who was eighth at the 2019 World Championships, arrived in Sapporo as the third-fastest man in history after a 1:16:54 performance in March, so his ambitions to try to steal the race early weren't a surprise. But those of the unheralded Kumar were.


The two passed eight kilometres together in 32:56, 11 seconds clear of a chase pack of 12 that included Stano, Ikeda and Yamanishi. But just two minutes later Kumar began drifting back and out of contention, swallowed by the chase pack in the ninth kilometre.

Wang forged on alone, hitting the nine-kilometre mark in 36:55 and the midway point in 40:55, 10 seconds clear of his nearest pursuers.

Yang reached 12 kilometres (49:03) alone, but, visibly beginning to strain, he too was gobbled up by the chase pack about two minutes later, with Spaniards Alvaro Martin and Diego Garcia, Japan's Yamanishi and Ikeda and Stano in the front pack.

By this time sizeable crowds began gathering along pockets of the one kilometre loop course, giving the Japanese duo something virtually all athletes at these Olympic Games were missing: fan and spectator support.


After swapping the lead a few times with Yamanishi, Stano lead the group of seven through 15 kilometres in 1:01:27 and after that, never relinquished the lead.

Just beyond the 17 kilometre point, three men remained in the hunt: Stano and Yamanishi and Ikeda, who were trying to apply the pressure as a two-flank attack.

With just over 1:15 on the clock, Stano and Ikeda were the last men standing, carrying a six-second lead on Yamanishi when the bell sounded the last lap. Stano looked unstoppable and ultimately was, pulling away gradually over the final stretch before crossing the finish in 1:21:05.


The time was well off his 1:17:45 lifetime best from 2019, but was the second-fastest performance of his career. Those stats were likely the furthest thing from his mind as he was trying to process what he had just accomplished.

"For now, this is like a dream - and I don't want to wake up."


Ikeda clocked 1:21:14 and Yamanishi 1:21:28 to secure Japan's first two athletics medals of these Olympic Games.

"He was very tough and strong, but I didn’t want to lose,” Ikeda said. “I kept behind him but he pulled away from me. I then focused on the next goal which was silver.”


The International Olympic Committee made the decision to move the race walks and marathons to Sapporo in October 2019 to avoid the significantly warmer temperatures expected in Tokyo, located more than 800 kilometers south. Conditions in Sapporo were warmer than expected, with the mercury reaching 31 degrees Celsius at the start, but cooling as the race progressed.


“The first half (of the race) it was hot, especially the first 10 minutes, but then it was getting cooler and cooler," Ikeda said.

Christopher Linke of Germany, who equalled his fifth place finish from the Rio Games five years ago, concurred.

"It was hot but it wasn't so bad," he said. "I was training in warmer and more humid conditions so I was well prepared."


Bob Ramsak for World Athletics



50km men


Report of the race
The start is given punctually at 5:30.
- 6:18 am
We are at 10km. The leader is momentarily Luo Yadong (CHN) who passed in 47:57. Behind him (48:22) a group of a dozen athletes led by Dawid Tomala and including the two Japanese Satoshi Maruo and Masatora Kawano, Jonathan Hilbert (GER), Matej Toth (SVK), while Evan Dunfee (CAN) is still a few meters behind.
- 7:05 am
We are at 20km. Also leading the race is Luo Yadong (CHN) who passed in 1:35:04, but was overtaken by the others.
- 7:51 am
We are at 30km. Dawid Tomala (POL) has been leading the race shortly after halfway (2:21:21). No one could yet foresee that this action would be what led to Olympic gold.
Behind him Jonathan Hilbert (GER), Satoshi Maruo (JPN), Veli-Matti Partanen (FIN), Andres Chocho (ECU), Artur Brzozowski (POL) and again Luo Yadong (CHN) and Wang Qin (CHN)
- 8:34 am
We are at 40km. Tomala's advantage (3:03:45) had grown with every kilometer and Tomala did not show any symptoms of crisis.
Behind him Jonathan Hilbert (GER), Evan Dunfee (CAN), Marc Tur (ESP), Masatora Kawano (JPN), Joao Vieira (POR) all in 3:06:35. About ten meters away Rhydian Cowley (AUS).
After 40 kilometers, the equation that gave the solution for the victory seems solved.
- 8:56 am
We are at 45km. Dawid Tomala (POL) covers the last 5km in 22:01 while the most immediate chasers score a 22:21. It all seems over, but there is still a bit of thrilling.
- last 5km
Dawid Tomala (POL) feels the fatigue and covers the last 5 km in 24:22, but resists.
Jonathan Hilbert (GER) is the fiercest and fights to the last for the victory. The last 5km of him score an excellent 21:48 but not enough to reach the fugitive.
Evan Dunfee (CAN) scores an excellent 22.02 which, however, is worth only the bronze and the season best.
Thrilling the last kilometer. At 49km behind Dawid Tomala are Jonathan Hilbert and Marc Tur (shoulder to shoulder), while Evan Dunfee is about 100m and has just passed Joao Vieira.
At the bell Jonathan Hilbert forces the pace and gains meters after meters, while Marc Tur seems to be satisfied with the bronze.
But it won't be like that because at 80m from the finish I'll be overtaken and overtaken by Evan Dunfee.
Gold to Dawid Tomala (POL) in 3:50:08
Silver to Jonathan Hilbert (GER) in 3:50:44
Bronze to Evan Dunfee (CAN) in 3:50:59
Fourth place to Marc Tur (ESP) in 3:51:08
Fifth place to Joao Vieira (POR) in 3:51:28
Sixth place in Masatora Kawano (JPN) in 3:51:56
Seventh place went to Bian Tongda (CHN) in 3:52:01
Eighth place went to Rhydian Cowley (AUS) in 3:52:01
Dawid Tomala today marked the end of an era by becoming the last Olympic champion in the 50 km walk in history! This distance will be replaced by a 35km race from next season.
But there is still a small detail to point out: a certain Jesus Angel Garcia Bragado (ESP) born on 17.10.1969 at almost 52 years old allowed himself the luxury today of finishing his eighth Olympics in 35th position (4:10:03) leaving twelve athletes behind him. 
Beating the heat, a loaded field and his own inexperience, Dawid Tomala battled his way to a surprise victory in the 50km race walk in Sapporo on Friday (6) to secure the fourth athletics gold medal for Poland at these Olympic Games.


Tomala, who was contesting the distance for just the third time, made his decisive break from the field as he approached the 30th kilometre and was never threatened en route to his victory in 3:50:08.

It was the slowest winning time since 1972, but given the conditions – 25.7°C at the start at 5:30am, with relative humidity at 79%, to 33°C and 55% humidity by 8:30am and 35°C by 9:00am – a fast time was never in the cards. That stat certainly didn’t matter to Tomala.


"It was an amazing day for me. I can’t believe it," said the 31-year-old, whose only recorded performance over the distance came in Dudince, Slovakia, in March when he clocked 3:49:23. He made his 50km debut in the Dudince race in 2017 but did not finish.

"The first 30 kilometres was so easy for me,” he continued. “It was easy, like (a) slow training (session). Everything was amazing, Too perfect. So I was thinking maybe we can do something."


Luo Yadong of China, the fifth-place finisher at the 2019 World Championships, took control with a surge of his own early on, covering the opening 10 kilometres in 47:57, 35 seconds ahead of a 12-man chase pack that included Tomala and teammate Artur Brzozowski, Japan's Satoshi Maruo and Masatora Kawano and defending champion Matej Toth.

The Chinese national champion forged on but began running out of steam in the 19th kilometre, saw his lead reduced to one second at 20km (1:35:04) and finally drifted back behind the leaders at 22 kilometres.


Germany's Jonathan Hilbert was walking at the front, along with Toth and Tomala who were leading a 17-man lead pack that was strung out over about 15 metres.

About 1:50 into the race, Tomala took his first turn at the front, upping the tempo to build a three-second lead but soon drifted back. He wasn't yet quite ready for what was to come.

Finn Veli-Matti Partanen led through the midway point in 1:58:16, surging into a brief lead ahead of Tomala, Havard Haukenes of Norway, Maruo and Kawano, Hilbert, Toth and China's Wang Qin. Rhydian Cowley of Australia led another chase group of seven who were racing a further two seconds back.


Then Tomala made what would be his decisive move. “The 50km is so boring, I (had) to do something,” he would later explain with a laugh.

After taking turns with the lead a few more times, he surged ahead to build a nine second lead at 30 kilometres (2:21:21), ahead of some 15 challengers that now made up the chase pack.


He then was transformed into the proverbial man on a mission.

He stretched the nine-second lead he had at 30km to a whopping 1:46 five kilometres later, crossing the 35km mark in 2:42:34 while a dozen men vied to remain in contention in the chase pack.

He kept padding his lead with every passing two-kilometre lap, extending it to 2:27 at 38 kilometres, 2:50 at 40 (3:03:45), to three minutes at 42 and 3:11 at 44.

His surge, pace and the rising temperatures began to take their toll and his lead began to unravel. But in the end it wouldn't break him.


With two kilometres remaining he was 2:03 ahead of Hilbert and Spaniard Marc Tur who were seemingly locked into a stride-for-stride battle for silver. And by the time he reached the finish, he was still a comfortable 36 seconds ahead of Hilbert, who shook off Tur in the final kilometre to finish runner-up.


Canada's Evan Dunfee, who was fourth in Rio five years ago, passed Tur in the waning metres to take the bronze in 3:50:59.

“My body gave me everything today. It is more than I could ever ask for,” he said. “I’m proud of what I accomplished today, but I have been dreaming of this moment and winning this medal for 21 years. I am over the moon."


Tur held on to finish fourth nine seconds later, with 45-year-old Joao Vieira of Portugal, the silver medallist at the 2019 World Championships, next in 3:51:28.

Kawano (3:51:56) and Bian Tongda (3:52:01) were next, the first Japanese and Chinese athletes across the line. Australia’s Cowley finished eighth in 3:52:01, the only walker to achieve a personal best in the race.


Jesus Angel Garcia of Spain clocked 4:10:03 to finish 35th at age 51 to cap his eighth Olympic appearance, a record for athletics.

Forty-seven of the 59 starts finished - 10 did not finish and two others were disqualified. Among the DNFs was world record-holder Yohann Diniz who struggled with hip, thigh and back pain before finally stepping off the course in the 27th kilometre.


Bob Ramsak for World Athletics