IAAF President Sebastian Coe congratulates representatives of Taicang's successful bid for the 2018 World Race Walking Team Championships ©Philippe Fitte/IAAF

The Chinese city of Taicang will host the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Race Walking Team Championships in 2018 that were originally awarded to the Russian city of Cheboksary.

The IAAF Council here today confirmed the success of Taicang’s bid to stage the Championships it held with success in 2014.

Russian track and field athletes remain suspended from international competition, and their cities from hosting new events, while the IAAF Taskforce assesses efforts that have been made to re-structure anti-doping operations. 

This follows the widespread instances of abuse that have come to light within the last two years.

Rune Andersen, head of the Taskforce, will report to the Council tomorrow to update them on the results of recent discussions with the All-Russia Athletics Federation (ARAF).

Cheboksary was originally due to hold this year’s edition of the biennial Championship, but its place was taken by Rome, which hosted the event from May 7 to 8.

Taicang's successful bid for the 2018 IAAF World Race Walking Team Championships will raise home hopes of further success for the likes of their Rio 2016 20km gold medallist Wang Zhen ©Getty Images
Taicang's successful bid for the 2018 IAAF World Race Walking Team Championships will raise home hopes of further success for the likes of their Rio 2016 20km gold medallist Wang Zhen ©Getty Images

Taicang’s bid was the first of two to be considered by the Council, with Danish city Aarhus’s application to host the 2019 IAAF World Cross Country Championships due to be considered on the second day of the meeting.

“The Chinese Athletics Federation are extremely experienced organisers of IAAF World Athletics Series events, most recently delivering the stunning 2015 IAAF World Championships in Beijing,” commented IAAF President Sebastian Coe.

 “Taicang’s bid and today’s presentation was of the highest technical level. China is one of the most successful race walking nations and we can expect large crowds of spectators in 2018, just as there were in 2014.”

“Of course it’s a great honour for us to host the 2018 IAAF World Race Walking Team Championships,” commented China's IAAF Council member Zhaocai Du.

 “We’re proud to see this competition come back to our country.

"In fact, race walking is very popular in China and in Taicang.

"We host the Race Walking challenge every year and Taicang do a great job to promote race walking not only at the elite level but also as a fitness activity.

"We’re looking forward to welcoming you back in our home in 2018 and we are preparing for the delivery of a successful championships.”

The Championships will thus be heading back to one of the heartlands of walking as they return to China for the third time - Beijing were hosts in 1995.

China’s Wang Zhen and Cai Zelin took gold and silver respectively in the men’s 20 kilometre walk in Rome this year, reproducing that performance at the Rio Olympics.

Their compatriot Qieyang Shenjie was silver medallist in the women’s 20km in Rome behind Maria Guadalupe Gonzalez of Mexico after original winner Liu Hong was disqualified for a doping positive that resulted in a one-month ban.

China then took gold and bronze respectively in the women's Rio 2016 20km race walk through Liu Hong, who was free to compete by that time, and Lu Xiuzhi.

The men’s 50km title in Rome was inherited by the original silver medallist, Jared Tallent of Australia, after home walker Alex Schwazer, who earned a dramatic victory in his first competition since serving a three year and nine months doping ban, was subsequently disqualified.

This was after the emergence of another positive result from a re-test of a sample taken on January 1.

The provisional suspension of the ARAF in November last year was approved by 22 of the 24 IAAF Council members, and the suspension was confirmed in June.