The 90th anniversary of the Poděbrady Walking, the international race walking meeting took place at the Spa Colonnade on Saturday (2 April). Its winners were the Mexican Valeria Ortuňo and the Brazilian Caio Bonfim. Eliška Martínková and Vít Hlaváč won the Czech titles. In addition, Martínková qualified for the World Championships in Eugene and the European Athletics Championships in Munich.
In the women's 20km race, the Spanish favourite Maria Peréz took care of the pace at the beginning. The fourth woman of the last Olympic Games led a six-member group on five kilometres in 22:16. Tereza Ďurdiaková, the defender of the Czech championship title, was also present. The second elite Czech race walker Eliška Martínková was twelfth with a loss of 41 seconds. Unfortunately, Peréz paid for her tactics in the following course, as she had to go to the penalty zone during the eighth kilometer, where she had to serve a two-minute penalty and was subsequently disqualified.
In the middle of the track, the Mexican Valeria Ortuňo was in the lead with 44:23. At that moment, only her compatriot Alegna Gonzales, Ecuadorian Johana Ordonez and German Saskia Feige kept her company. Ďurdiaková was in fifth place 17 seconds back. On the contrary, Martínková gradually took the pace, finishing in the sixth position in the top ten.
Five kilometers before the finish, the leader Ortuňo (1:06:43) was already ten seconds ahead of Ordonez and another 25 seconds ahead of Feige. The duel for the Czech title also dramatized. Martínková got in front of Ďurdiaková and both competitors went together. In addition, the 1:18:15 split gave Eliška hope to meet the sharp limit for start at the World Championships in Eugene.
In the end, there was no doubt about the winner. Valeria Ortuňo only increased her lead and passed the finish line victorious in 1:29:25. The battle for silver was exciting until the very end, where Saskia Feige had more strength (1:29:57), who was only one second ahead of Johan Ordonez (1:29:58).
Interview with the winner of the women's race Valeria Ortuňo.
Eliška Martínková managed a successful battle against time and also with her more experienced colleague. In the overall standings, she finished fifth in a huge personal record of 1:30:53 and not only won her first championship title in the women's category, but also beat the required time by seven seconds, which entitles her to start at the World Championships in Eugene. At the same time, she qualified for the European Championship in Munich. With her performance, she ranked fourth in the national historical tables. After two golds, Ďurdiaková took the silver medal in her second best career performance 1:31:09. Štěpánka Pohlová Kučerová won bronze in the Czech Championships in 1:51:26.
The Czech colors could also rejoice in the victory in the international match. Silver French and bronze Italians accompanied them to the podium.
The men's 20km had a defending champion from last year Swede Perse Karlström at the start, and was very active at the beginning of the race and took the top five in the leading position in 19:52. Six other walkers kept in touch with him. The Czech duo Vít Hlaváč and Lukáš Gdula were moving together in the top 40 at that moment with a loss of 1:16.
In the middle of the race, the leading group numbered only four competitors who missed this goal in 39:40. In addition to already mentioned Karlström, there were also Brazilian Caio Bonfim, Irish David Kenny and Ecuadorian Daniel Pintado. Hlaváč was currently 30th and in the fight for the championship he started to have the upper hand over Gdula.
The key moment came shortly after the fifteenth kilometre, when Bonfim decided to escape and gradually began to move away from his opponents. As it turned out, his attack was successful. He became the winner of the race in equalled meeting record of 1:18:54. This is exactly the same time as Karlström won last year. In the end, this year he got the silver position in the time of 1:19:42 before the biggest surprise of the race by David Kenny (1:19:42). Daniel Pintado (1:19:47) and Spaniard Alberto Amezcua (1:19:58) pressed their times below 1:20.
Vít Hlaváč finished the race as the 36th in a personal record of 1:26:27 and defended the title from last year's national championship. Lukáš Gdula hung silver on his neck for 1:29:44. The bronze was won by Martin Nedvídek (1:33:32). The victory in the international match belongs to the Italians before the Slovaks and the French. The Czech national team took fourth place.
The national team did well in the junior race at 10 kilometers. They went to this race with a clear goal, and it was to lower the nomination standard for the start of the World Championship in this category in Cali, Colombia. To do this, they needed to get over this distance in less than 43 minutes. Jaromír Morávek in particular was very active in dictating the pace. In the middle of the race, only his national teammate Adam Zajíček and a Mexican Angel Montes managed to hold on to him.
In the end, it was this trio who also shared the victory when they entered the final circuit together. In the end, Angel Montes had the strongest finish, leaving Adam Zajíček in the last meters and rejoicing in the triumph in 42:15. Zajíček managed to move his current career maximum by more than a minute to 42:19, and the third Morávek, who was 42:36 behind his personal team by only nine seconds, could also be satisfied. Thanks to the performances from Poděbrady, we will see both of our representatives at the World Junior Championships in Colombia.
Interview with the winner of the men's U20 race Angel Montes.
The women junior 10km race was clearly directed by Karla Ximena Serrano, a 17-year-old Mexican woman. She got into the lead at the second kilometer and did not let anyone in front of her. She won in a completely sovereign way in a quality personal record of 45:20, which is also a new meeting record. The fight for second place was much more balanced. Silver Finn Heta Veikkola (46:02) defeated bronze Costa Rican Sharon Herrera Sot in just two seconds (46:04). The best Czech competitor was the 27th Klára Hlaváčková in 54:52.