Men's podium at the 2017 Asian 20km Race Walking Championships, from left: runner-up Georgiy Sheiko, winner Kim Hyun-Sub and bronze medallist Irfan Kolothum Thodi (© Rahul Pawar (organisers))
Kim Hyun-Sub of Korea notched a third continental 20km title at the Asian 20km Race Walking Championships in Nomi, Japan, the first Asian leg of the 2017 IAAF Race Walking Challenge, on Sunday (19).
Biding his time comfortably in the shadow of Japan's Toshikazu Yamanishi for the first five kilometres, the 31-year-old caught his Japanese rival by the ten-kilometre mark which the pair reached in 39:34.
Soon thereafter Kim decided to pull away for good, building a 23-second lead by 15 kilometres before reaching the finish in 1:19:50.
It was the fifth fastest career performance for Kim, the 2011 world bronze medallist over the distance, and his fastest since 2015 on this very course.
Georgiy Sheiko of Kazakhstan closed with a strong 20:20 final five kilometre stretch to finish second in 1:20:47 with India's Irfan Kolothum Thodi third in 1:20:59.
Sheiko, 27, shattered his previous personal best of 1:21:34 while Thodi, the national record holder at 1:20:21, equalled his second fastest performance.
Yamanishi, the 2013 world U18 10,000m race walk champion, faded in the waning stages and wound up fourth in 1:21:23.
The Asian Championship races were held jointly with the All Japan Race Walking Meet and the All Japan University 20km Race Walking Championships. The event's over-all winner was 2014 world junior champion Daisuke Matsunaga of Japan who clocked 1:19:40.
Wang Na dominated the women's race, winning by a massive 2:30 in 1:30:51.
Walking five seconds ahead of Japan's Kumiko Okada after five kilometres, Wang, the 2014 world junior 10,000m race walk silver medallist, upped the tempo to build a 43-second lead by the midway point, reached in 44:56. She then put on an exhibition, extending her lead to 1:23 by 15 kilometres before closing out the race with a 23:11 final five kilometres.
Okada, the world junior 10,000m walk silver medallist in 2010, was second in 1:33:21, more than a minute clear of Yeongeun Jeon of Korea, third in 1:34:35.
The Asian 20km Race Walking Championship is part of the 2017 IAAF Race Walking Challenge.
Bob Ramsak for the IAAF