China’s Liu Hong wins gold in women’s 20km race walk nail-biter
Liu Hong, banned for one month this year because of a positive dope test, pipped Mexico’s Maria Guadalupe Gonzalez by two seconds to win the women’s 20km race walk and add to China’s gold medal haul.
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The 29-year-old world record holder, who lives in Shenzhen, fulfilled her ambition of winning an Olympic gold after finishing fourth in the past two Games in London and Beijing.
“It means a lot to me. I have been doing this sport for more than 10 years now and at the last Olympics, I was fourth. This time I was doing my best to get a medal and I am pleased I could get the gold today.”
Liu’s victory took China’s gold tally for the Games to 22, one gold behind Great Britain while the United States led the way with 37.
Gonzalez – who replaced Liu as winner of the World Race Team Championships in Rome in May after the Chinese athlete’s positive test – timed 1:28:37 while another Chinese walker, Lu Xiuzhi, was third in 1:28:42.
Liu was handed a one-month ban after testing positive for “specified” substance higenamine. She lost the Rome title but was allowed to return to competition in Rio.
The world champion from 2015 was given a light ban, from June 13 to July 13, because the supplement higenamine – a beta-2-agonist on the World Anti-Doping Agency Prohibited List – is “specified”.