Manuel Bermudez in action at the IAAF World Race Walking Team Championships Rome 2016 (Getty Images) © Copyright
Preview Bydgoszcz, Poland

Preview: men's 10,000m race walk – IAAF World U20 Championships Bydgoszcz 2016

Manuel Bermudez missed out on the gold medal by just four seconds at this year’s World Race Walking Team Championships, but the Spaniard will start as favourite in Bydgoszcz.

China’s Zhang Jun, who won the junior 10km at the World Race Walking Team Championships in Rome, will not be competing in Bydgoszcz, making Bermudez the fastest of all the entrants this year.

Bermudez chopped more than a minute off his PB to take the silver medal in the Italian capital two months ago. He later went on to revise his PB on the track, clocking 41:23.3 over 10,000m in April, and he warmed up for Bydgoszcz by setting a PB of 19:40.04 over 5000m.

But if the World Race Walking Team Championships is anything to go by, the 10,000m race walk in Bydgoszcz will be a close race.

Mexico’s Noel Ali Chama finished just two seconds behind Bermudez in Rome, setting a PB of 40:29. Just two years ago, Chama took the bronze medal at the Youth Olympic Games, finishing three places in front of Bermudez.

Britain’s Callum Wilkinson was in a medal position for most of the race in Rome before being overtaken by Chama on the home straight. Missing out on a medal by one second would have given the 19-year-old much motivation heading into Bydgoszcz, and in his last race before heading to Poland, he clocked a 5000m PB of 19:35.4, the fastest time in the world this year by an U20 athlete.

In the absence of Zhang, China will be represented by Zhu Guowen and Bai Liga. Zhu is the faster of the pair, having clocked 40:45 on the roads and 41:36.98 on the track.

Peru’s Cesar Augusto Rodriguez will be hoping to follow in the footsteps of compatriot Paolo Yurivilca, the bronze medallist in 2014, by making it on to the podium in Bydgoszcz. Rodriguez is the South American U20 champion and finished sixth in Rome earlier this year.

Jon Mulkeen for the IAAF