Alvaro Martin walks on towards Paris

Edwin  - CEO March 21, 2024
Updated 2024/03/21 at 10:10 PM
7 Min Read
Alvaro Martin wins the 35km race walk at the World Athletics Championships Budapest 23 (© Getty Images)/World Athletics
Alvaro Martin wins the 35km race walk at the World Athletics Championships Budapest 23 (© Getty Images)/World Athletics

After a double world gold win


Alvaro Martin celebrates his world 20km race walk win in Budapest (© AFP / Getty Images)/World Athletics

Double world champion Alvaro Martin’s favourite rock group is Extremoduro, Paul Warburton reports for World Athletics.


This is no great surprise. Roughly translated, the Spanish band’s name means ‘tough’ – and Martin is mostly certainly that.


One world title is more than praiseworthy. Two in five days require dedication, hard work, focus, and toughness.


His wins in the 20km and 35km race walk events in Budapest last year also showed another side of Martin’s character: meticulous timing.


For three-quarters of the 20km, he was mainly hovering around sixth or seventh place and 20 seconds off the pace.


Watchful and steady, Martin didn’t make his move until 15km, but when he did, it was decisive.


With Japan’s Koki Ikeda feeling the strain of leading from the gun, the Spaniard eased past and opened a six-second gap over the next kilometre.


It’s not much to an outsider, but when the elastic snaps on the chasers, it’s a case of holding form and inching away from your opponents.


It was much the same in the longer race.


Aurelien Quinion desperately bid for glory as early as 14km, and Martin allowed him a 30-second lead.


When the Frenchman was done, Martin slipped into a four-second advantage over Brian Pintado from Ecuador over the final kilometre. Again, it was not a lot, but just enough.



Alvaro Martin at the Olympic GamesAlvaro Martin at the Olympic Games (© AFP / Getty Images)

The big question is, can Martin reproduce that calm winning effort at the Olympic Games in Paris in August when the expectation will be even more fantastic?


“There have always been those expectations,” he says.


“Even before Budapest, Spain has always been a powerhouse. We have the Tokyo Olympic Games as a reference, where we achieved three fourth-place finishes and a sixth-place finish.”


Martin himself was fourth on the streets of Sapporo in the 20km event, followed by Diego Garcia in sixth. Marc Tur was fourth at 50km, and Maria Perez, a double world champion in the making, was fourth in the women’s 20km.


Add gold for Daniel Plaza in the 1992 Olympics, two silvers and a bronze spread out since Jordi Llopart came home second in Moscow in 1980.


That doesn’t consider the Spanish treasure chest of gold, silver, and bronze, which won at world, European, and World Race Walking Team Championships events since Llopart took gold at the European Championships in 1978.


“We arrive in Paris with the certainty that there is an excellent team to improve on the results in Tokyo,” Martin adds.


Considering his calm and gradual control in races, Martin’s best of 1:17:32 in Budapest was a leap from a previous 1:19:11 set when winning the European Championships in Munich in 2022.


Likewise, his 35km win in Hungary was a massive slice off his previous best – 2:29:59 down to 2:24:30, more than a kilometre in racing terms.


As one might expect, the winter months were about building up and reaching a peak in Paris.


“Everything is going according to schedule,” says Martin, who opened his year at the Spanish 20km Championships on 25 February and then raced in the International Race Walking Mixed Relay in Valencia on 10 March.


“We are taking the first months of the year very calmly, only to reach our peak of form in the next Olympic Games.


“In April, I will compete in the mixed relay event in the World Race Walking Team Championships in Turkiye.


“Apart from those competitions, I am committed to my club in the Division of Honour League of Spanish Athletics. But I would also like to compete in the Coruna race registered in the World Race Walking Tour.”


At the World Athletics Race Walking Team Championships Antalya 24 on 21 April, teams can qualify for the marathon race walk mixed relay at the Paris Olympics.


Martin made a statement with his two world title wins in Budapest, and doubling up is a theme for the native of Extremadura, one of Spain’s autonomous communities/states.


Not only does he have a law degree, he also has one in political science.


It somewhat answers the question, what does he do in his spare time?


Quite a lot more is the answer.


He made time to find a sports commission in his home region. He is also a member of the OSCEC, Asociacion 25 de Marzo and Asociacion Cultural Moria. This group meets to debate political, cultural, and historical analysis, as well as past, present, and future, to ensure Extremadura’s place in the world is correctly depicted.


Martin is more than just a champion racewalker – and would like others to know so.


“I like to be able to say that I’m not just an athlete,” he adds.


“My sports career is accompanied by my academic career, my social involvement, and my interest in reading, which I am passionate about.


“Of course, I also love music, especially rock, which helps me escape the sport.”


Plenty of competitors would like to see the 29-year-old well away from start lines in 2024 – but that isn’t going to happen.


Martin might be passionate about interests off the road, but he’s just as passionate about adding to his impressive medal haul.


It’s a brave person who will bet against it.


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