Japan’s Nomi City witnessed a stunning demonstration of home race walking talent in the third leg of the 2019 International Association of Athletics Federation Race Walking Challenge, with Toshikazu Yamanishi leading home four fellow countrymen over 20 kilometres - and with all three medallists breaking 1 hour 18min.
Yamanishi’s winning time of 1 hour 17min 15sec was a personal best by 26 seconds in a race where the first three all went under 1:17:30, and it also secured him the Asian Race Walking title, with those Championships being set for some of the field within the IAAF event.
China’s Ma Zhenxia lived up to her position as women’s favourite as she won both the overall race and Asian title.
In cold, rainy conditions,the bespectacled, 23-year-old Yamanashi remained in contention throughout before moving clear in the final stages.
There were huge personal bests too for the second and third placed walkers, Masatoro Kawano, who clocked 1:17:24, well inside his previous record of 1:19.52.
Koki Ikeda was a step behind for 1:17:25, improving on the best he set last month when he recorded 1:18:01 in the Japanese National Championships.
Not far behind in fourth was world record holder Yusuke Suzuki in 1:17:47 - his fastest for three years, and Isamu Fujisawa, who recorded 1:17:52 for fifth place.
This 14th edition of the Asian Championships featured a number of race categories.
So, actual second and third places in the Championships went to Georgy Sheiko from Kazakstan in 1:20:21 and South Korea’s Byeongkwang Choe in 1:20:40.
And in what was billed as the Asian Open Championships, China’s hugely promising 19-year-old Zhang Jun won in 1:20:17 that was also good for sixth overall.
Second in the Asian open race was three-time winner in the actual championships, Hyunsub Kim from South Korea in 1:21:01.
Third place went to India’s Devender Singh in 1:21:25.
The 20-year-old Ma also had a day to remember as she took exactly a minute off her 20km best to win in 1:28:28, leading from start to finish.
Ma had just over a minute on 18-year-old Australian Katie Hayward in all categories, and four minutes over official Asian Championships second place Kaori Kawazoe from Japan, who finished in 1:32:48.
For the first time, Hong Kong stood on the podium courtesy of Siu Nga Ching who recorded 1:34:17 for third.