EUGENE, Oregon (July 15 ) — The first gold medal of the World Athletics Championships 2022 in Eugene, Oregon on Friday was won by Kimberly Garcia Leon of Peru who secured the women’s 20 kilometers race walk in a time of 1:26:58 to set a national record.
“I have dreamed of this medal since I was little. I want to dedicate it to all Peruvians,” the winner said.
Before Friday’s success, the Pan American Games champion’s best finish at the world championships was seventh place in London in 2017. Read more: Christian Coleman vs Andre De Grasse; Lamont Jacobs vs Oblique Seville – Men’s 100m heats at Oregon 2022
Katarzyna Zdzieblo of Poland finished with a national record time of 1:27:31 to claim the silver medal with the bronze going to China’s Qieyang Shijie in 1:27:56.
Qieyang and Garcia Leon broke away from the pack to take a sizable lead over the rest of the competitors at the halfway mark and battled shoulder-to-shoulder through the next five kilometers in an intriguing encounter.
However, with three kilometers left in the contest, Garcia Leon increased the tempo to pull away and captured the win in fairly warm conditions over Qieyang, who was the 2012 Olympic silver medalist in London.
Finishing in fourth with a time of 1:28:17 was Jemima Montag of Australia, the fifth-placed finisher at the Tokyo Games last summer, while four-time champion Liu Hong, who led a Chinese podium sweep in Doha in 2019 and collected bronze at the Olympics last summer, had to settle for fifth in 1:29:00.
Meanwhile, the men’s contest event to Japan’s Toshikazu Yamanishi after he successfully defended the title he won in Doha three years ago with a determined performance that saw him fending off compatriot and Tokyo silver medallist Koki Ikeda over the final few kilometres to break the tape in 1:19:07
Perseus Karlstrom of Sweden secured the earned bronze.
Photo: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images