Alegna Gonzalez after winning the U20 women's 10km race walk at the IAAF World Race Walking Team Championships Taicang 2018 (Getty Images) © Copyright
Preview Tampere, Finland

Preview: women’s 10,000m race walk – IAAF World U20 Championships Tampere 2018

Mexico’s Alegna Gonzalez and Ecuador’s Glenda Morejon finished first and second over 10km at the IAAF World Race Walking Team Championships in Taicang in May and they will resume their rivalry over the same distance but this time on the track in Tampere.

Gonzalez covered the 10km distance in 45:08 to defeat Morejon, the world U18 5000m race walk champion, by five seconds on an oppressively humid day. The good news is the conditions should be decidedly fresher in Tampere but the bad news for her rivals is Gonzalez is almost one minute faster than the rest of the field on paper with a 44:43.89 PB set at the Pan-American U20 Championships last summer.

Third in the U20 race in Taicang, Japan’s Nanako Fujii will arrive with aspirations of claiming her second major medal of the season. Even though China isn’t sending their very best exponents to Tampere, Shi Yuxia and Liu Yajing are still ranked inside the top 10 albeit on the roads with 45:02 and 45:18 respectively.

Turkey might not have quite the lustrous tradition in race walking as some of the aforementioned nations but Meryem Bekmez has been a regular on the podium in recent championships.

In the space of six days last year, the 17-year-old earned a silver medal at altitude over 5000m at the World U18 Championships in Nairobi and then a bronze medal on a sweltering morning in Grosseto over 10,000m at the European U20 Championships.

Steven Mills for the IAAF