Kenyan walkers DNF as China takes 20km gold and silver
The men’s 20km walk race finals of the 2016 Rio Olympics proved to be an insurmountable challenge for African Champion Samuel Gathimba and compatriot Simon Wachira as Kenya missed out on the medals.
After a strong start, Gathimba and Wachira struggled to keep with the world finest and registered the unfavoured tag of Did Not Finish (DNF) as their debut at the quadrennial Summer Games went up in smoke.
Zheng Wang and Zelin Cai bagged gold and silver for China in 1:19:14 and 1:19:26 as Dane Bird-Smith settled for bronze for Britain in 1:19:26.
Gathimba made a strong start at third place behind two-time Asian walking race Champion Hyunsub Kim and Francophone Games winner Kevin Campion.
Kim was given a warning and quickly faded behind the pack to avoid being disqualified from the competition.
At the fourth and sixth-kilometre marks the pace had started increasing and Gathimba was still in the medal bracket at second behind Britain’s Tom Bosworth.
At 8K Gathimba took lead with a gap of 0.01m ahead of Bostworth.
As the walkers struggled to maintain the legal limits Gathimba had drawn even with Bosworth in a time of 32:13 before the Kenyan was served warning.
He then faded off the challenge and quickly faded to 28th in 40:45 with his countryman Wachira at position 55 (41:45) before the Kenyan pair pulled out altogether.
The race was eventful when home favourite Jose Alessandro Bagio decided to sit on the course and started sobbing out of frustration in unclear circumstances at the first water station when the field had done only 2km.
Lukasz Nowak of Poland, Ecuador’s Mauricio Arteaga and Andres Chocho, Indian pair of Gurmeet Singh and Ganapathi Krishnan were disqualified from the race.
Brazillian José Alessandro Bagio, Belarus’s Dzianis Simanovich and Swede Perseus Karlström where the other DNF’s in the final.
1 125 Zhen WANG CHN 1:19:14
2 122 Zelin CAI CHN 1:19:26 SB
3 101 Dane BIRD-SMITH AUS 1:19:37 PB
4 112 Caio BONFIM BRA 1:19:42 NR
5 155 Christopher LINKE GER 1:20:00
6 151 Tom BOSWORTH GBR 1:20:13 NR
7 179 Daisuke MATSUNAGA JPN 1:20:22
8 176 Matteo GIUPPONI ITA 1:20:27 PB
9 133 Manuel Esteban SOTO COL 1:20:36 PB
10 117 Evan DUNFEE CAN 1:20:49