x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Borchin adds walking world title to his Olympic crown

Olympic champion Valeriy Borchin of Russia won the 20km walk yesterday, coming from behind to claim the first gold medal of the IAAF World Athletics Championships.

BERLIN // Olympic champion Valeriy Borchin of Russia won the 20km walk yesterday, coming from behind to claim the first gold medal of the IAAF World Athletics Championships. Hao Wang of China took silver and Eder Sanchez of Mexico was third after 10 laps along a 2km course on downtown Berlin's leafy Unter den Linden boulevard. Borchin was chasing a breakaway trio for more than half the race before he made his move, winning in 1hr 18.41min.

Wang stayed with him until the final stages, but the Russian wore him down near the end. "My coach was helping me a lot in every critical moment," Borchin said. "I was trying to prevent the other athletes to go far away from me. The most important thing was not to leave the group." Borchin, who served a one-year suspension for doping that ended in May, 2006, beat Wang by 25 seconds. Sanchez was 41 seconds behind. After becoming the youngest Olympic walking champion last year, Borchin has added the world title at 22.

"I have got a lot of experience with races like this one," Borchin said. "This was just one in a row." Wang missed out on a medal at the Beijing Olympics, finishing fourth, but he got one this time. "Tomorrow is my birthday," Wang said. "This is a nice birthday gift," he added. The race was held in sunny conditions through the centre of Berlin and ended under the famous Brandenburg Gate. Borchin said he was not bothered by the warm weather, but that shifting between asphalt and stone pavement on the course was challenging. "That's very hard on the legs," he said.

* AP