China’s Liu Hong claims 20KM race walking gold

Liu Hong takes race walking gold

Gold: Liu Hong (China), 1:28:35
Silver: Maria Gonzalez (Mexico), 1:30
Bronze: Lu Xiuzhi (China), 1:35

China’s Liu Hong just beat out Mexico’s Maria Gonzalez to win the 20KM race walking gold medal in Rio, finishing in 1:28:35.

The two women led from the start, though for a while it looked as though Gonzalez, winner of the Pan American Games title last year and owning the second fastest time this year, might take home the gold.

Liu, who finished first in the 2015 World Chapmionships in Beijing, China, also holds the world record, finishing the race in 1:24:38 in June 2015. However, she was predicted to finish second behind teammate Qieyang Shenjie. Unfortunately, around the 1:15 mark, Qieyang fell behind the leading group and was unable to make up the lost time.

Another Chinese woman, though, Lu Xiuzhi, who was the runner-up at last summer’s World Championships, finished just behind the first two, earning China’s second medal in the event.

And with Qieyang’s fifth-place finish, China had three women finish in the top five.

Brazil’s Erica de Sena was also considered a medal contender after posting the fourth fastest time of the year, clocking in at 1:27:18 at the World Race Walking Cup in Rome in May. But she began to fade around 1:08 and was also unable to make a comback.

The two Americans, Maria Michta-Coffey and Miranda Melville, finished in 22nd and 34th respectively.

In total, 11 competitors were unable to finish the race; six women were disqualified, either for stepping off the road or for technical violations, while the other five voluntarily pulled out.

The victory ceremony will be tonight at 7:10PM ET.

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