Si Tianfeng takes gold in men’s 50km race walk
Si Tianfeng of China breaks the tape.
(BEIJING, April 19) — Si Tianfeng of China won the men’s 50km race walk on Saturday, April 19, in the 2008 IAAF Race Walking Challenge in Beijing with a time of 3:45:13, the best time of the season so far. Zhao Chengliang of China finished second (3:47:14), Li Jianbo of China took third place (3:52:12).
Part of a pack of nine racers separated by just three seconds at the 25km mark, the top three finishers grabbed hold of their spots after 35km, with second place finisher Zhao Chengliang challenging but not able to pass Si Tianfeng. The leader at the half, Xing Shucai, did not finish the race.
One of 42 events included in the “Good Luck Beijing” series, the IAAF Race Walking Challenge earned the distinction of being the first competition to be held at Beijing’s new National Stadium, commonly referred to as the “Bird’s Nest.” Jared Tallent of Australia won the men’s 20km walk yesterday to earn the first gold ever awarded at the Bird’s Nest.
The retirement of legendary racewalker Robert Korzeniowski, means the 50km at the Olympic Games will see a new gold medal winner for the first time since Korzenioski first won the event in 1996 in Atlanta. His performance in 2000 in Sydney was particularly memorable as he claimed glod in not only the 50km but the 20km as well.
Of the 33 racers that started the race, all except three were representatives of China. The top time in 2008 before today was 3:45:47, posted by Sudol Grzegorz of Poland. He did not participate in today’s event.