The international race walk meeting Poděbrady Walking is celebrating a significant anniversary this year. On Saturday, 2 April, the 90th anniversary of this legendary race walk competition will take place at the Spa Colonnade, which is included in the World Athletics Race Walking Tour Gold category this year.
The start lists are also full of interesting names this year. The fast track on the Spa Colonnade fits the Spanish European Champion Maria Pérez, who last year finished just behind Italian Antonella Palmisano on a silver position in a quality time of 1:28.03. Then, there is also the Colombian Sandra Galvis, who has already managed to win at Poděbrady Walking in the past. It happened in 2017.
Tereza Ďurdiaková, the thirtieth woman of the Sapporo Olympic race, is the greatest domestic hope. The current Czech race walk number one made herself known for the first time in Poděbrady when, in 2020, she won her first championship title on the 20-kilometer track after an exciting duel with Anežka Drahotová and finished fifth in overall. Last year in Poděbrady, she completed the 35-kilometer race within the European Team Championship and finished ninth. Twenty kilometre track is waiting for her again this year.
Last year, Eliška Martínková completely dominated the junior women's 10 km race and thus started a successful season, which she adorned with European silver and world bronze in this category. She will now start in her women's 20km race, which will be her second race on this distance this season. She won 27th place at the World Team Championships in Oman.
The biggest favorite of the men's race should be the bronze medalist from the last world championships in Doha, Perseus Karlström. He also used to be doing well in Poděbrady. Last year, he dominated the European Team Championship with 1:18:54 and won in the 2020 and 2016 seasons. He has a bronze medal from the European Cup in 2017 on the same track. He also confirmed a great shape at the World Team Championships in Oman, where he won the 35km race.
Former world and European champion Miguel Angel Lopez leads the strong Spanish team. He had the best season in Poděbrady in 2017, when he walked for silver in the European Cup. Last year, he finished just below the podium on fourth place. A few weeks ago, he gained bronze at the World Team Championships in Muscat, so he is also in a good shape. The next world champion at the start will be the Colombian Eider Arevalo. The world champion from London 2017 has one Poděbrady primacy on his account, namely from 2013.
The traditional participant is the experienced Frenchman Kevin Campion. He reached his best position in 2017, when he gained the silver medal. He was fourth three times. South African Wayne Snyman also has Poděbrady silver at home. He finished second in 2019. He finished fourth in the European Cup in the 2017 season. This is the best position that the Brazilian Caio Bonfim has placed in Poděbrady so far. The bronze from the World Championships in London 2017 and the fourth placer from the Olympics in Rio would finally like to climb up on the podium in Poděbrady. The British Tom Bosworth is in a similar situation. He was the fourth best so far and is still waiting for the podium.
The best Czech race walkers Vít Hlaváč and Lukáš Gdula are rather specialists on longer distances, so the priority for them will be the fight for the domestic championship title on 20km. The meeting also includes the Czech Republic's men's and women's championships. While Gdula already has six gold medals from this championship at home, Hlaváč has won only one title so far. However, this year he is the favorite.
The third competition that will take place as part of the Poděbrady Walking meeting is an international match of adults and the U20 category. The women start their race at 13:00 and two hours later, they will be followed by men, which are scheduled to start at 15:00.
In addition to the races themselves, a rich accompanying program is also prepared.
The meeting can be watched via live stream on the Czech Athletics Facebook page.
The recording of the race will then be broadcast on Thursday, April 7, at the ČT sport channel from 3:40 p.m.