Japanese race walker Eiki Takahashi (© AFP/Getty Images)
Japan’s Eiki Takahashi took almost half a minute off the world best for the 10,000m race walk at the Juntendo University Long Distance meeting in Inzai on Saturday (14), winning in 37:25.21.
In a high-quality and competitive race, Takahashi managed to hold off a strong challenge from 2018 World Race Walking Team Championships 20km winner Koki Ikeda, who finished second in 37:25.90. Just three weeks ago on the same track, Ikeda had clocked a Japanese 5000m race walk record of 18:20.14 – the fastest time in the world for 12 years.
Yuta Koga, the World University Games bronze medallist, was third in 37:35.00. All three men finished well inside the previous world best, set 12 years ago by 2004 Olympic silver medallist Francisco Javier Fernandez of Spain.
Before today, just three men had bettered 38 minutes for the 10,000m race walk. That number has now been doubled.
The fourth-place finisher, 20-year-old Ryo Hamanishi, clocked 38:23.95 to move into the top 20 on the world all-time list.
Takahashi had set Asian records for the 10,000m race walk in 2014 and 2015 but both were relatively short-lived, as was his 1:18:03 Japanese record for the 20km race walk in 2015. He sharpened up for today’s race by clocking 18:51.25 over 5000m in September; his last race before that was a third-place finish at the Japanese 20km Championships in Kobe back in March when he clocked 1:19:53 to put himself in contention for a place on the Olympic team.