Christopher Linke of Germany and Viviana Sandra Galvis of Mexico was the strongest in the field of the jubilee 85th edition of Poděbrady walking. The national champions in the Czech central Bohemian spa city became Lukáš Gdula and Anežka Drahotová.
In the men's race, the first five kilometers were led by a five-member group, where none of the favorites was missing. First out of it was Robert Heffernan of Ireland and, in the middle of the race; it had even narrowed to just three athletes. Soon, however, the German favorite Christopher Linke broke through and began to escalate the pace while none of his rivals could respond. His lead has steadily increased and amounted to over thirty seconds at the fifteenth kilometer ahead of another Frenchman Kevin Campion. In the final kilometers, the German was able to get even faster and reached for a victory in a great new personal best of 1:18:59. He is following up on his Poděbrady victory in 2015. The second Frenchman Kevin Campion also managed to improve his personal maximum with 1:20:28. Fabulous finish, especially in the final two kilometers, secured bronze medal for the next German Hagen Pohle (1:21:41), who improved his sixth place from previous two years. Just below the podium ended South African Wayne Snyman (1:22:01). The elite five was closed by Karl Junghannss of Germany (1:22:40) and the best Czech walker became Lukas Gdula as twenty-fourth (1:31:49).
Interview with Christopher Linke
Women´s competition was directed by the Colombian athletes. They led the field since the start of the race and their pace was too fast also for the home star and tenth from Rio Anežka Drahotová. Gradually, also the rest of the walkers dropped away and only representatives of this South American race walk superpower stayed in the front from the eighth kilometer. The break through occurred about two kilometers later when Sandra Viviana Galvis distracted from her compatriot and boldly went for the victory, which she also eventually won in the time of 1:30:00 and became the first Colombian winner in the history of the race. "I'm quite satisfied because I managed to meet the limit for the start at the World championships in London. In the last kilometers, I was already running out of power, but I did it. Poděbrady, I will always like to come back," she said. Big personal best 1:31:14 was the result of her national team colleague Yeseida Carrillo on second place. Also the giant personal record 1:31:40came with the third Lithuanian Živilé Vaiciukevičiüté who narrowly defended her podium before the Mexican Valerie Ortuňo (1:31:48). The fifth came the second Vaiciukevičiüé twin Monika (1:32:39). In sixth place, the local hero Anežka Drahotová clocking 1:33:18, what means her improved season best from Swiss Lugano by more than a minute.
Interview with Anežka Drahotová
The interstate clash was crowned by French and Lithuanian walkers
Winners of the international race, a meeting under the auspices of the European Athletics, became French men team (3 pts). Second place went to Hungarians (15 pts) and third were Swedes (21 pts). Among women, Lithuanian team became the strongest (3 pts), second place went to French women (11 pts) and third to Poland (13).
Drahotová and Gdula national champions for third time on 20k
Lukáš Gdula became the clear winner of the home national championships (1:31:49). Thus, he defended the last year´s gold medal and it is his third title at this distance. The results in the women´s category confirmed that Anežka Drahotová does not have any opponents within the Czech Republic, as the athlete coached by Ivo Piták won in 1:33:18, huge 21 minutes ahead of the silver medallist. It was also her third national title.
Interview with Lukáš Gdula
Leo Köpp of Germany managed to get through the junior 10 km track in the fastest time of 41:19. French race walker David Kuster stayed 12 seconds behind him (41:31). Also under 42 minutes, Lukasz Niedzialek of Poland finished with 41:53.
Interview with Leo Köpp
German race walker with the Czech roots Teresa Zurek was a sovereign winner of the women junior race, when she finished the 10 km distance in 45:53, almost three minutes faster than the rest of the field. The battle for the silver and bronze was very dramatic. French Camille Aurrier (48:36) was in the end four seconds faster than Enni Nurmi of Finland (48:40).
Interview with Teresa Zurek