Heel and Toe: Dane the (Bird)Man wins in China



WALKER OF THE WEEK
Dane Bird-Smith is my Walker of the Week this time around, compliments of his fine win in the ‘Around Lake Taihu’ 4 day international race in Wuzhong, China, last week. First launched in 2013, the competition includes four stages that are held in different scenic areas – one stage each day for four straight days.

Comments and quotes are from the IAAF report at https://www.iaaf.org/news/report/taihu-wuzhong-race-walking-competition-2016. Dane finished second in the 20km stage on the first day and second again in the 10km on the second day before he outraced his main rival Eider Arevalo in a breath-taking home stretch to win the 10.5km third stage. He was still 5 seconds down on Eider but surged clear in the final stage to claim overall victory by a big margin of 1 min 31 secs.

“Today was extremely tough. I knew that everybody was going to be tired, so I just made a gamble and went hard from the start. And it paid off. I managed to just keep myself going and stay strong all the way to the finish. The first year when I came here, I did two days and then I had to stop. The second year I fought hard and I finished in second place behind Chen Ding, and last year I was second behind Wang Zhen. Finally I have won this competition.”

It was Dane’s fourth appearance in Wuzhong, but his first overall victory after finishing as the runner-up twice in a row in the previous two years, and it follows on from his superb bronze medal in the Rio 20km in August.

AROUND LAKE TAIHU 4 DAY RACEWALK, CHINA, 25-28 SEPTEMBER
Last week’s newsletter reported on the first two days racing from the ‘Around Lake Taihu’ 4 Day Classic in China. This week we look at what happened on days 3 and 4, as well as reviewing the final individual and teams placings. Day 3 took place in the Yuanboyuan botanical park with 3 laps of 3.5km for a total of 10.5km. It was again a very hot and humid day, with conditions already tough at the 9AM start time. Well reported by http://www.marciadalmondo.com/eng/dettagli_news.aspx?
id=2565. Full results at http://www.marciadalmondo.com/admin/pdf/risultati/27092016561Taihu_3rd_full.pdf.

Men 10.5km Race Walk (Day 3), Tuesday 27 September
The men’s race was very much a carbon copy of Day 2. Almost off the top walkers were together in the first lap with Perseus Karlstrom (SWE) setting the pace along with Dane Bird-Smith (AUS), Andres Chocho (ECU), Federico Tontodonati (ITA), Eider Arevalo (COL), Caio Bonfim (BRA) and Igor Glavan (UKR). It was not until quite late in the race that the top 3 finally broke away, with Arevalo forcing the pace on a slightly uphill section, taking Bird-Smith and Karlstrom with him. In a very exciting finish, Bird-Smith got the better of Arevalo in the final few metres, winning by 1 second 42:22 to 42:23. Karlstom could not match their finishing speed and finished third some 30 seconds in arrears. Quentin Rew finished 13th with 44:10, Jared Tallent was 32nd wih 46:41 and Adam Garganis was 55th with 52:07. I had said in last week’s newsletter that Adam had not raced on the first day.

This was an error in the results. He did indeed race, finishing 46th in the first leg. Apologies Adam!
1. Dane-Bird Smith AUS 42:22
2. Eider Arevalo COL 42:23
3. Perseus Karlstrm SWE 42:53
4. Lebogang Shange RSA 42:59
5. Caio Bonfim BRA 43:27
6. GAO Wenkui MON 43:32
7. Federico Tontodonati ITA 43:32
8. Evan Dunfee CAN 43:42
9. Rui Wang CHN 43:48
10. Sergii Budza UKR 43:53

Men Overall Placings after 3 Days
Overall, Dane crept one second closed to Eider and was now only 5 seconds behind him in second spot, nearly a minute clare of third placed Perseus Karlstrom. Jared Tallent was down in 11th spot, Quentin Rew in 38th and Adam Garganis in 48th.
1. Eider Arevalo COL 2:47:18
2. Dane-Bird Smith AUS 2:47:23
3. Perseus Karlstrm SWE 2:48:19
4. Federico Tontodonati ITA 2:51:45
5. Lebogang Shange RSA 2:52:02
6. Tongda Bian CHN 2:53:10
7. Caio Bonfim BRA 2:53:35
8. GAOWenkui MON 2:54:20
9. Sergii Budza UKR 2:54:51
10. NIU Wenbin YNN 2:55:01

Women 10.5km Race Walk (Day 3), Tuesday 27 September
The women’s race quickly split, with a lead group of the usual suspects in Erica de Sena (BRA), Regan Lamble (AUS), Beatriz Pasqual (ESP) and Nie Jingjing (CHN). But Qieyang Shijie (CHN) was never far behind and eventually joined the leaders in the second lap. Around the 8km mark, Qieyang increased her pace again, shaking off her team mate Nie and winning comfortably by 48 seconds. Australian Regan Lamble had another superb race, finishing 4th overall with 46:44. NZ walker Alana Barber was further back in 21st place with 50:25.
1. Shijie Qieyang CHN 45:18
2. Jingjing Nie CHN 46:06
3. Erica de Sena BRA 46:23
4. Regan Lamble AUS 46:44
5. LI Leilei TJN 46:54
6. Beatriz Pascual ESP 46:59
7. WANG Yingliu YNN 47:15
8. Inna Kashyna UKR 47:33
9. Yanxue Mao CHN 47:37
10. Viktoria Madarasz HUN 47:45

Women Overall Placings after 3 Days
The top two Chinese girls had now cleared out with a handy lead but Regan Lamble was sitting comfortably in third place, nearly 2 minutes clear of the next best.
1. Jingjing Nie CHN 3:05:14
2. Shijie Qieyang CHN 3:05:29
3. Regan Lamble AUS 3:05:53
4. Beatriz Pascual ESP 3:07:43
5. Erica de Sena BRA 3:08:06
6. WANG Yingliu YNN 3:09:34
7. LI Leilei TJN 3:10:30
8. Sandra Lorena Arenas COL 3:11:14
9. Nadiia Borovska UKR 3:11:28
10. Viktoria Madarasz HUN 3:13:21

The fourth day of the “Around Taihu” classic was held on a tough hilly course, starting at the Dongshan Hotel and finishing after 10km at the Old Luxiang Village. Finally a cooler with threatening rain – fresher but still very humid. Well reported by marciadalmondo in http://www.marciadalmondo.com/eng/dettagli_news.aspx?id=2566.

Full results at http://www.marciadalmondo.com/admin/pdf/risultati/2909201674Taihu2016_4day_final.pdf

Men 10km Race Walk (Day 4), Wednesday 28 September
The final stage was quite different to the previous days as Dane Bird-Smith (AUS) threw down the gauntlet early, storming away from the field and building up a good lead over Perseus Karlstrom (SWE) and Eider Arevalo (COL) by the 4km mark. From then on, it was game over as Dane walked through to the finish to win with 40:36. Behind him, Wenkui Gao (CHN) came through strongly to take second with 41:08, well ahead of Karlstrom with 41:48. Quentin Rew finished 17th (43:10), Jared Tallent finished 37th (44:39) and Adam Garganis finished 61st with 51:45.
1. Dane-Bird Smith AUS 40:36 . . 4
2. GAO Wenkui MON 41:08
3. Perseus Karlstrm SWE 41:48
4. Lebogang Shange RSA 41:58
5. Caio Bonfim BRA 42:09
6. Eider Arevalo COL 42:12
7. Sergii Budza UKR 42:14
8. Marius Ziukas LTU 42:17
9. Aliaksandr Liakhovich BLR 42:38
10. Ruslan Dmytrenko UKR 42:41

Men Final Placings after 4 Days
With his great last day, Dane Bird-Smith took the overall lead, finishing 1 min 31 secs ahead of Eider Arevalo and Perseus Karlstrm, one place better than in 2014 and 2015 when he finished second. Jared Tallent was 20th, Quentin Rew 34th and Adam Garganis 49th.
1. Dane-Bird Smith AUS 3:27:59 1:24:50, 40:11, 42:22, 40:36
2. Eider Arevalo COL 3:29:30 1:25:02, 39:53, 42:23, 42:12
3. Perseus Karlstrm SWE 3:30:07 1:24:27, 40:59, 42:53, 41:48
4. Lebogang Shange RSA 3:34:00 1:28:06, 40:57, 42:59, 41:58
5. Federico Tontodonati ITA 3:34:47 1:26:43, 41:30, 43:32, 43:02
6. GAO Wenkui MON 3:35:28 1:29:34, 41:14, 43:32, 41:08
7. Caio Bonfim BRA 3:35:44 1:28:39, 41:29, 43:27, 42:09
8. Sergii Budza UKR 3:37:05 1:29:18, 41:40, 43:53, 42:14
9. Tongda Bian CHN 3:37:52 1:27:54, 40:48, 44:28, 44:42
10. Marius Ziukas LTU 3:38:14 1:29:40, 42:10, 44:07, 42:17

Women 10km Race Walk (Day 4), Wednesday 28 September
A lead group of all the main players soon developed in the women’s race, but the complexion quickly changed at the 4km mark as Qieyang Shijie (CHN) surged on an uphill incline and forced the break. From then on, she continued to increase her lead and was already well ahead of Erica de Sena (BRA), Yingliu Wang (CHN) and Nie Jingjing (CHN) by the half way mark. From there, the winner was never in doubt as she crossed the finish line in 43:54. Surprise second placed finisher Wang Yingliu came next with 44:33, ahead of Erica de Sena (BRA) with 44:55. Australian Regan Lamble (AUS) finally slowed on this final day, finishing 6th with 45:36. Further back, Alana Barber finished off 4 days of solid racing with a final day placing of 25th (48:48).
1. Shijie Qieyang CHN 43:54
2. WANG Yingliu YNN 44:33
3. Erica de Sena BRA 44:55
4. Nadiia Borovska UKR 45:29
5. Regan Lamble AUS 45:36
6. LI Leilei TJN 45:44
7. Inna Kashyna UKR 45:57
8. Yanxue Mao CHN 46:02
9. Viktoria Madarasz HUN 46:06
10. JI Yefang 46:11

Women Final Placings after 4 Days
Shijie Qieyang was the dominant walker in this competition, finishing 1:29 ahead of compatriot Jinjing Nie, with Regan Lamble a further 13 secs back in third spot. The 2012 Olympic silver medallist won 3 of the 4 stages and confirmed her ongoing good form.

This is a great first up effort by Regan and comes after her 9th placed Olympic walk. Alana Barber was also in the top 20, finishing a creditable 19th.
1. Shijie Qieyang CHN 3:49:23 1:36:04, 44:07, 45:18, 43:54
2. Jingjing Nie CHN 3:50:37 1:33:30, 45:38, 46:06, 45:23
3. Regan Lamble AUS 3:51:29 1:34:21, 44:48, 46:44, 45:36
4. Erica de Sena BRA 3:53:01 1:37:08, 44:35, 46:23, 44:55
5. WANG Yingliu YNN 3:54:07 1:36:53, 45:26, 47:15, 44:33
6. Beatriz Pascual ESP 3:54:31 1:35:58, 44:46, 46:59, 46:48
7. LI Leilei TJN 3:56:14 1:37:40, 45:56, 46:54, 45:44
8. Nadiia Borovska UKR 3:56:57 1:37:22, 45:42, 48:24, 45:29
9. Sandra Lorena Arenas COL 3:58:33 1:36:47, 45:22, 49:05, 47:19
10. Viktoria Madarasz HUN 3:59:27 1:39:08, 46:28, 47:45, 46:06

Spearheaded by Qieyang and Nie, China took a convincing victory in the women’s team contest, while the men’s team gold went to ‘The Gringos’ which included Sweden’s Perseus Karlstrom, Ecuador’s Andres Chocho, Mexico’s Ever Palma, and Brazil’s Caio
Bonfim.

Men Overall Team Standings
1. The Gringos Bonfim, Chocho, Palma, Karlström 10:46:28
2. Extreme Beef Bird-Smith, Diniz, Arevalo, Snyman 10:47:06
3. BEL-KAZ Liakhovich, Simanovich, Sheiko, Budza 10:58:08
4. Supernova Tallent, Dunfee, Rew, Augustan 11:04:04
5. NB Performance Hrechkovskyi, Glavan, Banzeruk, Dmytrenko 11:05:23

Women Overall Team Standings
1. China Qieyang, Ma, Nie, Mao 11:40:34
2. Angels Lamble, Arenas, Virbalyte, Barber, Madarasz 11:48:26
3. Inter BPS de Sena, Cabecinha, Pascual 11:50:09
4. Yunnan Wang, Zhou, Que, Zhang, Li 12:23:48
5. Sereka team Szwarnog, Golba, Pinedo 12:30:11

Finally, a nice summary article from the IAAF: https://www.iaaf.org/news/report/taihu-wuzhong-race-walking-competition-2016.

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Photo Credit – Marca Italiana

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