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Sunday, 4 May 2014 | IMGSTG Admin



The Australian team will return home from the IAAF World Race Walking Cup with more medals than ever, after the junior women combined to add yet another BRONZE to our already impressive tally of success in Taicang (CHN).

Joined on the podium by the host country China (gold) and Spain (silver), the result followed an impressive personal best walk by Clara Smith (Qld, 46:33) for 8th, with the 12th and 25th place of Jemima Montag (Vic, 47:34) and Elizabeth Hosking (ACT, 49:21, PB) cementing the result.

The third medal from two days of competition means that Australia has won it biggest ever haul at the IAAF World Race Walking Cup, and with six athletes improving their personal best in the process it has been a very successful championships.

“I’m so happy, it’s amazing,” Smith said.

“I felt so horrible in the last kilometre, I thought I was going to be sick the whole time, but I knew that I just had to hold on and push as hard as I could to the line. I’m pretty sure my time is a PB by more than two minutes, so that hard work at the end paid off.

“I’m over the moon to win a medal with the other girls as well. I can’t really believe it to be honest. Both Jemima and I are quite young in this field, being on 16, and Liz is a great walker as well so the team has performed strongly.

“The experience of being here has just been out of this world. I can’t wait to have another opportunity to compete for Australia and I so much look forward to competition against the best athletes in the world again. They just push you to that next level.”

Australia’s open men’s 20km race walkers also took to the 2-kilometre loop course in Taicang (CHN) today, with national champion Dane Bird-Smith (Qld) clocking a personal best of 1:20:27 to be best placed in 14th.

The result drastically improves on the 44th place he achieved in the same event in Saransk (RUS) two years ago, and is his second best international result over the distance ever behind the 11th place he secured on debut with the Australian Flame at last year’s IAAF World Championships.

“I’m really happy with it, the rain and cool weather worked in my favour. It made the course really slippery but I dealt with it pretty well and have come away with a good result,” Bird-Smith said.

“Off the start line with 120 people was mayhem, the first three laps were busy to say the least and tough when you are trying to keep technique. The pace was where I wanted it though and I was able to hold it through to the half-way mark as possible.

“The rest of my race was about making sure that the boys at the front didn’t get away and I managed to do that. I negative split the second 10-kilometres which means that the last part of my race was quickest and that’s awesome.

“I’m headed home to wrap up a bit of university work then it will be off to Europe. I am looking forward to having a real crack over there and hoping to keep improving across the year, training and competing alongside some of the best athletes in the world at races that I haven’t had a chance to be involved in before.”

57th placed overall, Rhydian Cowley (Vic) also delivered a new personal best of 1:23:58 from today’s race, with London Olympian Adam Rutter (NSW) rounding out he Australian contingent in 64th. His time was 1:24:44.

To view and download complete results from the IAAF World Race Walking Cup, please click here.

Competition in Taicang (CHN) has now concluded, with the attention of the athletics world shifting to the first round of the IAAF Diamond League in Doha (QAT) next Friday 9 May and the inaugural IAAF World Relays to be held in Nassau (BAH) later this month.

Kim Mickle (WA, javelin) and Alana Boyd (Qld, pole vault) will both compete in Doha, with a team of 31 expected to compete for Australia at the IAAF World Relays.


In other results from today, the Olympic finalist Steve Solomon (NSW), who is on scholarship at Stanford University, ran an impressive 45.65 to placed second in his timed final in the men’s 400m at the Red Raider Open in Lubbock (USA).

The time is a Commonwealth Games B-Standard, and it now sits alongside the 45.36 he ran to win his second national crown at the 92nd Australian Athletics Championships and Commonwealth Games Selection Trials in Melbourne (Vic) last month.

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