Sweden’s Perseus Karlstrom and China’s Qieyang Shenjie have been confirmed as the overall winners in the 2019 IAAF Race Walking Challenge.
The scoring system takes each athlete’s three best marks from the series with points being awarded to the top 10 finishers in category A and B races and the top six finishers in category C races. Prize money is awarded to the top eight finishers at the end of the challenge. The athlete with the highest score wins US$25,000.
The series concluded at the recent Around Taihu International Race Walking Competition, a three-day contest in which challenge points are awarded in the first stage of the competition, held over 20km.
Karlstrom was victorious in Suzhou, giving him enough points to move into the overall lead in the challenge with a tally of 32. Earlier in the season, the 29-year-old had won at the Adelaide, Lazaro Cardenas and Alytus legs of the challenge, as well as taking the bronze medal in the 20km race walk at the IAAF World Athletics Championships Doha 2019.
Japan’s Toshikazu Yamanishi, the world 20km race walk champion, finished a close second on the leader board with 30 points while Spain’s Diego Garcia was third.
The women’s challenge contest was similarly close but ended with Qieyang Shenjie retaining her title.
Earlier in the year the 28-year-old won in Rio Maior and Taicang, bagging valuable points in the challenge standings. She pocketed another 10 points, bringing her 2019 tally to 34, when taking the silver medal in the 20km race walk at the World Championships in Doha.
Liu Hong, the world 20km race walk champion, capped her 2019 campaign with a victory in Suzhou, but it wasn’t quite enough to move her ahead of her compatriot in the challenge standings and she had to settle for second place with 32 points. Brazil’s Erica de Sena was third with 26 points.
1 Perseus Karlstrom (SWE) 32
2 Toshikazu Yamanishi (JPN) 30
3 Diego Garcia (ESP) 24
4 Yusuke Suzuki (JPN) 23
5 Caio Bonfim (BRA) 21
1 Qieyang Shenjie (CHN) 34
2 Liu Hong (CHN) 32
3 Erica de Sena (BRA) 26
4 Li Maocuo (CHN) 26
5 Sandra Lorena Arenas (COL) 20