Rodriguez and Inga take Dudince

Edwin
Edwin  - CEO March 16, 2024
Updated 2024/03/17 at 12:00 AM
7 Min Read
Cesar Rodriguez wins in Dudince (© Milan Duroch for organisers)/World Athletics
Cesar Rodriguez wins in Dudince (© Milan Duroch for organisers)/World Athletics

 Claim Peruvian double in Slovakia

 

Evelyn Inga celebrates her win in Dudince (© Milan Duroch for organizers)/World Athletics

 

The Dudinska 50—the second World Athletics Race Walking Tour Gold event of the year—was a triumph for Peru and Paul Warburton for World Athletics.

 

They won both the 20km races in the spa town of Dudince in Slovakia on Saturday (16), although the women’s event produced a big surprise.

 

Cesar Rodriguez set a national record in the men’s race by coming home in 1:19:41, beating favorite Brian Pintado of Ecuador (1:19:44).

 

The real breakthrough came from India’s Ram Babu, who only joined the leaders at 15km and moved through the gears to shatter his PB with 1:20:00.

 

It was more than a minute better than the 1:21:04 set in January by the 24-year-old, who will have a happy birthday on Wednesday.

 

Pintado attempted to stamp his authority on the race from the gun and was clear of the chasing pack of a score or more by the first one-kilometer lap, which was covered in 3:58.

 

However, the rest quickly drew level, with Aurelien Quinion from France picking up the baton, followed by a dwindling group.

 

The lead seesawed up to a quarter distance. Pintado got the nod, but only by two seconds (20:10), with a group of 10 in close order.

 

By 9km, the leader looked around to see how much opposition was left. The answer was the same group of 10, showing no signs of wilting.

 

His fellow Ecuadorean David Hurtado was halfway through the line at 40:20, with five seconds separating the next nine.

 

That group was down to five, with Babu showing for the first time as a contender by 15km (1:00:11). Hurtado and Quinion were casualties and 11 seconds off the pace.

 

After that, it was a duel between the first two, with the fast-finishing babu coming like a train behind to post a last kilometer of 3:49.

 

Dominik Cerny notched a heartening 1:20:31 PB for fourth, and behind the Slovakian athlete was Quinion and Jose Alejandro Barrondo from Guatemala, diving over the line for fifth and sixth in that order.

 

Peru also triumphed in the women’s 20km, but not by the expected winner.

 

Evelyn Inga came out of the shadow of her more illustrious teammate Kimberly Garcia to break the tape in 1:27:42 – with a massive gap to second place.

 

Double 2022 world champion Garcia lasted exactly two kilometer laps before stepping off the road due to illness.

 

Instead, Inga took command in the last six kilometers to shake off the last of her chasers and underline Peru’s growing status as a walking force.

 

Mariia Sakharuk showed early, with a five-second advantage after the first circuit.

 

The big surprise was Garcia. The 2023 35km winner here was already well off the pace and moving backward as early as the first lap.

 

Likewise, double 2022 world silver medallist Katarzyna Zdzieblo was drifting back alarmingly. The Pole was close to a minute down on the leader by 3km and struggling.

 

A third Peruvian, Mary Andia, made inroads on the lead and had drawn level by 5km, reached in 21:44, with Sakharuk from Ukraine breathing down her neck.

 

Right behind came Ilse Guerrero and Inga, with Zdzieblo more than 1:30 down and in unlucky 13th place.

 

Halfway was reached at 43:34, and Sakharuk had been joined by Inga and Guerrero from Mexico. Andia fell away over the next kilometer.

 

One tour after that was Sakharuk’s turn to give way, with the race down to two.

 

Lap 14 was the decider. Inga took off and put 12 seconds between her and Guerrero. That gap doubled over the next kilometer, with the race now decided.

 

The race for second was closer, with Sakharuk prevailing in 1:29:14 to get the nod over Andia (1:29:19). Guerrero was fourth in 1:29:33.

 

And although she wasn’t at her best, Zdzieblo gritted it out for a distant sixth in 1:31:41.

 

The overnight rain was evident on the slick streets when the 35km walkers went alongside the U20 10km.

 

Andrea Agrusti was originally down to contest the tiny field in the 35km. Italy still won, but late entry Teodorico Caporaso broke the tape in 2:34:43 for a world lead.

 

The early excellent conditions did nothing to dampen Caporaso’s enthusiasm. He was already 12 seconds ahead of Nick Christie of the USA and Octavio Calderon of Ecuador by 5km.

 

The Italian went through in a sprightly 22:07, chasing a PB, 2:32:14.

 

By 20km (1:28:17), Caporaso had almost two minutes on Calderon and six on Christie.

 

At 30km, reached in 2:12:39, the lead had grown to a kilometer, although the race, such as it was, had long been decided.

 

Calderon was second in 2:41:14, and Christie was third and last in 2:59:34.

 

The U20 10km races produced a Mexican double: Emiliano Barba, in 42:06, equaled his PB, and Renata Cortes, in 46:36.

 

The marathon relay saw an experimental Greek team of Sofia Alikanioti and Georgios Kritoulis take command early on and come home at 3:18:38 ahead of Croatia and two teams from Czechia.

 

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