The 50km Race Walk is Saved!? (For The Moment)


The good news is that our world wide campaign to keep the 50km racewalk on the international calendar and the 2020 Olympics has
been successful.

The online petition (https://www.change.org/p/ioc-iaaf-keep-the-50km-race-walk-in-the-olympics) was an amazing effort, given the one week timeframe. It ensured the issue got huge amounts of sympathetic traction in the world media and, as a result of lobbying at all levels, the IAAF Council voted unanimously last Thursday against recommending any changes to the 2020 Olympic T&F
program.

This was a huge exercise for the us and many people must be thanked, including our elite walkers (including Chris Erickson who setup the petition), the 9380 people who signed the petition, and the IAAF Council. But special thanks must be made to USA Attorney at Law Paul de Meester who travelled to London off his own bat, booked himself into the same hotel as the IAAF Council delegates and then caught up with and spoke to them all in the final days leading up to the vote. He presented each delegate with a superb summary document (see http://www.vrwc.org.au/documents/IAAF.pdf) and handed out out a post-conference press release (see http://www.vrwc.org.au/documents/De%20Meester%20Press%20Release.pdf) which, taken together, present a well argued and compelling case for the retention of the 50km walk and the need to work towards enhancing the event with a women’s division.

I offer no thanks to the IAAF Racewalking Committee who are the ones who got us into this mess. It was with absolute surprise that, post conference, an online article praised RW Committee president Maurizio Damilano for his spirited defence of the 50km, an action that had helped save it (see http://www.insidethegames.biz/articles/1049218/iaaf-to-keep-50km-racewalk-on-programme-for-tokyo-2020). I’m sorry – what was that I just wrote? Talk about complete hypocrisy. And others on the committee are now continuing to discuss the other issues like shoes, etc, just like it’s business as usual and all is forgotten and forgiven. Sorry, folks, that is not the case. The RW Committe should hang their heads in shame and should resign enmasse. They no longer have our confidence and support. They have sold out walking. We didn’t vote them in but we should vote
them out!

Two articles you should read from the many
Quentin Rew has nailed it as usual in his racewalking blog with this review of the IOC and the 50km. See
http://morethanracewalking.blogspot.it/2017/04/olympic-hypocrisy.html.

Insidethegames places the 50km discussions in the wider context of the many ridiculous ideas being proposed for the 2020 Games. See http://www.insidethegames.biz/articles/1049268/liam-morgan-majority-of-tokyo-2020-event-proposals-fail-totick-olympic-boxes

We have won a major reprieve but not a complete victory. The immediate task remains to grow the women’s 50km event so that it can truly stand on its own as a legitimate championship event. For starters, that means we need to lobby our own national federations to schedule women’s national 50km racewalking championships. Countries like USA, China, GBR, etc, do this but most don’t as yet.

Then we need to lobby regional championships and Games to add a women’s 50km, alongside or inside the mens’s 50km. You can rest assured that we have won a battle only. The war against racewalking will continue. Marciadalmondo has done a superb analysis in their latest press release (http://www.marciadalmondo.com/eng/dettagli_news.aspx?id=2771) and I will reproduce the table which shows that in the first 4 months of 2017, there have been 12 major 50km walk championships, with a total of 238 men and 25 women starting the races.

Venue Nation Men Women Date
Porto de Mos POR 4 1 15.01
Schinias, Marathonas GRE 3 – 15.01
Santee USA 12 9 28.01
New Delhi IND 20 – 18.02
El Hierro, Valverde ESP 21 – 04.03
Huangshan CHN 56 9 05.03
Bragança Paulista BRA 6 1 05.03
La Roche-sur-Yon FRA 12 – 12.03
Monterrey MEX 21 – 19.03
Dudince SVK 34 2 25.03
Taicang CHN 21 3 16.04
Wajima JPN 28 – 16.04
Total 238 25

The analysis shows that, while the event is strongly supported on the men’s front, we have work to do to grow the women’s 50km event. Now that the IAAF has ratified a women’s world record, the momentum is building – we must each do our bit to help.

By Tim Erickson – Sourced from the Heel and Toe

Previous Podebrady Race Walk Meet 2017
Next IAAF Race Walking Challenge Event, Taicang, China 2017

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