Yamanishi retains 20km race walk title in Japanese 1-2

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Japan's Toshikazu Yamanishi produced a brutal final kick to defend his world men's 20km race walk title in Eugene, Oregon, on Friday.

Yamanishi timed 1hr 19min 07sec in a Japanese 1-2 as compatriot Koki Ikeda took silver, seven seconds off the winning pace.

It was a repeat of the result at March's World Race Walking Team Championships in Muscat.

Perseus Karlstrom of Sweden, 2019 world bronze medallist and Muscat 35km champion, claimed a second bronze just ahead of Kenya's Samuel Gathimba.

A 13-strong leading pack streaked through the halfway mark in 40:33 on the one-kilometre looped course starting and finishing on Martin Luther King Jr Boulevard in front of Autzen Stadium, a short hop over the river from Hayward Field.

At the 12km mark, Yamanishi started to employ surging patterns whereby he accelerated and slowed at will in a bid to thin the peloton.

His aggressive style saw four drop almost immediately off the pace.

With 6km to go, Yamanishi upped his pace, tracked by Ikeda, Gathimba and Karlstrom.

Four doesn't go into three, however, and Yamanishi and Ikeda upped their cadence, leaving Gathimba and the Swede in their trail.

The defending champion edged ahead of his teammate and held his nerve for a hard-fought victory in hot, sunny conditions with little shade.

A battle royale for bronze saw Karlstrom overtake his Kenyan rival in the final 300 metres.

lp/rcw