Olympic Games - OG 2021 Femminile

Tokyo 2020 (Sapporo)



20km women



Report of the race

Departure at 16:30 with 58 athletes
- 4:57 pm
We are at 6km. The large group passes in 27:37. We mention some athletes: the three Chinese Yang Jiayu, Qieyang Shenjie, and Liu Hong, the two Spaniards Maria Perez and Raquel Gonzalez, Sandra Lorena Arenas (COL), Erica De Sena (BRA), Jemima Montag (AUS), Priyanka (IND) and Elvira Khasanona (ANA)
The transition is quite slow.
But already one of the possible favorites is out of the game. It is Eleonora Anna Giorgi (ITA) who collected four yellow paddles in one lap (two of which was subsequently transformed into red cards) but she did not hold up psychologically and stopped. He had to work hard coach Gianni Perricelli, to convince her to continue the race which she will then finish in 52nd position (1:46:36).

- 5:17 pm
Halfway through the race. The leading group is still 15 units.
Now the important this to analyze is the control of the technical situation by the jury. In addition to when said for Giorgi, they have two red cards Hanna Shevchuck (UKR), Leydi Guerra (PER) and Maria Czakova (SVK), while Mayra Perez (GUA) and Laura Garcia Caro (ESP) have already been stopped in the area of penalty for 120 seconds.
In the group of leaders for the moment there is no red card charged to the strongest athletes.
- 5:43 pm
We are at 16km. The leading group, despite the pace is not fast (26:48), was reduced to 5 units: Antonella Palmisano (ITA), Yang Jiayu (CHN), Liu Hong (CHN), Erica de Sena (BRA) and Sandra Lorena Arenas (COL). A few meters pass Maria Perez (ESP) and 6 seconds behind Jemima Montag (AUS). Qieyang Shenjie (CHN) is in trouble and passes in ninth position.
The technical situation sees: Jemima Montag (1 RC per contact), Erica de Sena (1 RC per contact), while all the others have no red card against them. It sounds like an idyllic situation, but in a moment will kick up a rumpus.
- 5:51 pm
We are at 18km. Shortly before the 17km Antonella Palmisano (ITA) forces the pace and moved on to lead. Behind her immediately goesYang Jiayu (CHN) who disunites and collects three red cards within 5 minutes and ends up in the penalty area and out of action for medals.
But also Liu Hong (CHN), Erica de Sena (BRA) and Sandra Lorena Arenas (COL) received two red cards in a few minutes and slowed down.
At 18km the situation is: Palmisano (1:21:00), Arenas (1:21:06), de Sena (1:21:18), Liu Hong (1:21:22), Perez (1:21:28)
- last 2km
Erica de Sena receives the third red card just as she tried to catch Sandra Lorena Arenas. She is stopped in penality zone immediately after 19km and comes out of the fight for the medals.
Liu Hong, who today strangely received two red cards, like a great athlete prefer to think to consolidate the bronze, without risking to go hunting for silver.
Sandra Lorena Arenas for one moment thinks of trying to reach Antonella Palmisano, but when she sees a yellow paddle rising in front of her (17:53) she retraces her steps and thinks about keeping the silver. A medal is always a medal.
At 19km: Palmisano (1:25:06), Arenas (1:25:24), de Sena (1:25:31), Liu Hong (1:25:44).
The last lap is a triumphal walk for Antonella Palmisano (ITA) who collects the flag of Italy and ties it around her neck, but she ties her badly and about twenty meters after her loses it. She smiles, but she is now Olympic champion, today the "for race walkig the ball was round".
Gold to Antonella Palmisano (ITA) in 1:29:12
Silver to Sandra Lorena Arenas (COL) in 1:29:37
Bronze to Liu Hong (CHN) in 1:20:57
Fourth place to Maria Perez (ESP) in 1:30:05
Fifth place to Alegna Gonzalez (MEX) in 1:30:33
Sixth place to Jemima Montag (AUS) in 1:30:39

Seventh place to Qieyang Shenjie (CHN) in 1:31:04

Eighth place to Antigoni Ndrismpioti (GRE) in 1:31:24




(from World Athletics web site by Bob Ramsak)


For the second time in as many days in Sapporo, the Olympic 20km race walk title was claimed by Italy, this time courtesy of Antonella Palmisano, whose dominating racing in the second half secured the nation's fourth gold medal at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.


Palmisano, who finished fourth in Rio, was a presence from the start, but it wasn't until she approached the 17 kilometre mark that she made her intentions clear. After making her decisive move, she was alone by the time she reached the bell and completed much of the final lap with an occasional smile before reaching the finish line in 1:29:12 – a most appropriate present for her 30th birthday.

"Today is my day – a perfect way to celebrate my birthday," said Palmisano, a regular fixture on Italian race walk squads for the better part of the last decade, but until this morning, without a major title to her name.


It was a similar situation in yesterday’s men’s 20km race when Massimo Stano, Palmisano’s training partner, won his first major title.

"Massimo’s gold medal gave me a lot of extra power," she said. "In the countdown to the Olympics we both believed very much we could do it. We (both) come from very small towns in the south of Italy. We wanted to do something big."


With the start time temperature hovering at a balmy 34C, the field got off to a cautious start, with Brazil's Erica de Sena bringing the tight massive pack through the first kilometre in 4:50 and the second in 9:25. Palmisano led the field through the third kilometre in 14:00, a tempo that didn't do much to string out the pack.

By six kilometres (27:37) a distinct lead group of 16 emerged, with the Chinese trio of Yang Jiayu, Qieyang Shenjie and defending champion Liu Hong looming large, making their ambitions fairly clear: the first medal sweep in the event at an Olympic Games. But Palmisano was also racing comfortably, along with Colombian Sandra Arenas and de Sena.


The situation was similar at eight kilometres (36:49), but with the pack reduced to 11, and another group of six following another second behind.

Palmisano was at the head of the race at the midway point, reaching 10 kilometres in 45:57, and maintained a front row spot at 12 kilometres (55:01) and again at 14 (1:04:04).

Two kilometres later the lead pack was reduced to seven, with Qieyang the first of the Chinese athletes to drift back. Her teammate Yang remained even with Palmisano - but not for long.


The Italian decided to make her move as she approached the 17th kilometre, quickly forging a four-second lead on Yang, de Sena and Arenas.

But Yang's sails were soon deflated by a visit to the penalty box. Meanwhile, Arenas made a late race charge, moving into second, six seconds behind Palmisano at 18km (1:21:00).

But there would be no catching the Italian. She was alone at the bell (1:25:05), with the final one-kilometre loop serving as a victory lap, half of which she covered draped in an Italian flag.

"I think that it will take me a few days to realise that I’m the Olympic champion,” she said.


Arenas held on to take silver in 1:29:37, the first Olympic race walk medal for Colombia, and, after de Sena was pulled into the penalty box in the waning stages, Liu found the energy to move up and secure bronze in 1:29:57.

“I always thought that I could achieve this,” said Arenas, the 2019 Pan-American champion. “I worked very hard. And today I did.”

“This is my fourth Olympic Games and I’m very happy to win another medal,” said Liu, who also took bronze in 2012 and finished fourth in 2008. “I’m very proud of what I achieved here today.”

Further back, Spain's Maria Perez was fourth in 1:30:05, ahead of Mexico's Alegna Gonzalez (1:30:33) and Jemima Montag (1:30:39), who finished fifth and sixth. Qieyang was seventh in 1:31:04.


Bob Ramsak for World Athletics