Road races: TOTH (SVK) tipped to complete the set of men's titles
BERLIN - Olympic champion Matej TOTH (SVK) is looking to complete a set of three major championship titles when he contests the men’s 50km race walk at the Berlin 2018 European Athletics Championships.
The 35-year-old won world and Olympic titles in 2015 and 2016 after taking European championship silver behind Frenchman Yohann DINIZ in Zurich four years ago, and holds the fastest time in Europe this year.
Three-time champion and world record holder DINIZ will be missing with a stress fracture, so there will be a new champion for the first time since 2002.
Spain’s Jesus Angel GARCIA, the 2006 silver medallist, is making his seventh successive European championships appearance at the age of 48 and will be the oldest athlete in any event at Berlin 2018.
Ines HENRIQUES is favourite for the women’s 50km race walk, which appears on the European championships programme for the first time. The Portuguese set a world record to win the inaugural world title in London last August.
Julia TAKACS (ESP) leads the 2018 European lists for the 20km walk but will concentrate solely on the longer race in Berlin, leaving the shorter event free for Czech Republic walker Anezka DRAHOTOVA to improve on 2014, when she won bronze at the age of 19.
In the men’s 20km race walk, Vasiliy MIZINOV (ANA) heads the 2018 European lists but Spain have a strong quartet led by reigning champion Miguel Angel LOPEZ, while Commonwealth silver medallist Tom BOSWORTH could win Great Britain’s first medal in this event since 1974.
In the men’s marathon, Norway’s European record holder Sondre Nordstad MOEN will face strong opposition from the 2016 European half marathon champion, Tadesse ABRAHAM (SUI), and Spain’s Javier GUERRA, who was fourth in the marathon at the 2014 European championships.
The standout entrant in the women’s race is Volha MAZURONAK. The Belarusian was fifth, and first European, at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
She also won this year’s Dusseldorf Marathon in 2:25:25, the quickest by a European this year, ahead of compatriot Nastassia IVANOVA, who is also in the field.
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