Athletics-Garcia Leon completes worlds race walk double with 35km gold

EUGENE, Ore. (Reuters) -Peru’s Kimberly Garcia Leon bagged her second gold medal at the World Athletics Championships after winning the women’s 35km race walk on Friday, adding to last week’s 20km race walk triumph.

Garcia Leon won the inaugural women’s 35km race walk at the worlds, held on a closed loop at Autzen Stadium north of Eugene city centre, after crossing the line in a time of 2:39:16, which was over four minutes faster than her previous personal best.

She finished 47 seconds ahead of silver medallist Katarzyna Zdzieblo of Poland, while China’s Qieyang Shijie took the bronze as all three athletes mirrored their results from the 20km race walk.

“I have always dreamed of making history in a sport I am so passionate about, that I have been practising since I was five,” said Garcia Leon.

“After my 20km win, I tried to stay well hydrated, to eat well to get ready for the 35km. I trained to finish strong in the last 5km.”

Garcia Leon and Zdzieblo battled shoulder-to-shoulder and shared the lead until the halfway mark before the Peruvian pulled away at 19km, gaining a seven-second lead.

Zdzieblo tried to stage a comeback in the final 10km, but the Peruvian coped well with the pressure, securing the second gold medal for her country at this year’s championships.

“My plan was to set a steady pace until 20km and gradually up the pace from there. That’s what I did today,” the 28-year-old race winner added.

(Reporting by Manasi Pathak in BengaluruEditing by Toby Davis and Christian Radnedge)