China’s Liang Rui smashes women’s 50km racewalk world record – at her first attempt
The 23-year-old shaves more than a minute off previous record at world racewalking team championships in Taicang
China’s Liang Rui took more than a minute off the world record for the women’s 50km walk in Taicang on Saturday, claiming gold at the world racewalking team championships in what was her maiden outing in the endurance event.
The 23-year-old, who will win US$50,000 once the record is ratified, clocked four hours, four minutes and 35 seconds to top the podium and better the mark of 4:05:56 that Inez Henriques recorded in London last year.
“I chose to follow the others at the start to save my energy and then waited for the right moment to break away,” Liang told the International Association of Athletics Federation’s (IAAF) official website.
“It was after passing 40km that I realised I could break the world record. At that time I felt I still had energy in reserve and could speed up further.”
WORLD RECORD ALERT
In her debut 50km race, Rui Liang of smashes the world record to take gold in 4:04:35 in Taicang – that's over a minute better than Henriques' previous best. #IAAFworlds
— IAAF (@iaaforg) May 5, 2018
Henriques’s time had earned her the first gold medal to be awarded in the event at the world athletics championships after the women’s race was a late addition to the schedule.
The Portuguese world champion dropped out of Saturday’s race before the 30km mark to leave Liang to forge on through the drizzle and claim victory four and a half minutes clear of compatriot Yin Hang, who also won silver in London last year.
Australia’s Claire Tallent finished third for bronze in what was also her first attempt at the distance, which was first listed as a world record event in August 2015 as the IAAF looked to ensure equal competition opportunities for men and women.