Wednesday, February 20, 2013

2013 IAAF Race Walking Challenge gets underway

Monaco – The 11th edition of the annual IAAF Race Walking Challenge takes centre stage again after an exciting 2012 with the north Mexican city of Chihuahua and Hobart, Australia hosting the first two of the 14-leg series this weekend (Saturday 23 and Sunday 24 February). Host of the Mexican stop of the Challenge since 2008, including the World Cup in 2010, Chihuahua expects to witness another fierce battle between the home favourite walkers and their rivals from the rest of the world. A new course will be used this year, changing from Unidad Deportiva Sur to a 2km loop on Paseo Bolívar. A busy Saturday (23) starts with the 50km Race Walk at 7:00am, followed by the junior 10km and the 20km events for both men and women in the afternoon. Athletes from 11 countries have confirmed their attendance, including Poland, Russia, Belarus, Chile, Puerto Rico, Costa Rica and Norway. The race will be special to the Mexicans as it will serve as a qualifier for the Pan American Cup in Peru in June. The latter will help determine the team for the IAAF World Championships in Moscow. Due to the 18-hour time difference, events in Chihuahua and Hobart could almost be held concurrently. On the other side of the world, the Tasmanian city is hosting the Oceania Race Walking Championships on Sunday (24). Three-time Olympic medallist and 2008 series winner Jared Tallent and his wife Claire will start as top favourites to win gold. Also in the men’s field is the 2007 IAAF Race Walking Challenge series victor Luke Adams.