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UK Athletics

Walks legend set for Leamington

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Ryta Turleva
Ryta Turleva on her way to European gold

The fastest female walker ever will grace the UK next weekend, when she takes part in the European Cup Race Walking at Royal Leamington Spa.


Having won women’s 20k gold at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens and the 2005 IAAF World Championships in Helsinki in a world record of 1:25:41, Olimpiada Ivanova’s legendary status in the sport is safe.


Less secure is the Russian’s position as the current world no1.  Last year she was usurped by Ryta Turleva of Belarus, who having won silver behind Ivanova in Helsinki forced her to settle for second in last year’s IAAF World Cup competition before claiming European Championship gold in her absence.


Turleva will also be in Royal Leamington Spa and the clash between the two promises to be one of the highlights of a truly world-class competition on Sunday 20th May, which will also see men’s 50k world record holder Denis Nizhegorodov of Russia and men’s 20k Olympic champion Ivano Bugnetti of Italy in action.


Representing the home nation in the women’s 20k race are Johanna Jackson (Redcar Racing Club) and Lisa Kehler (Wolverhampton & Bilson). 


Jackson logged a time of 1:38:34, 26 seconds inside the UK Athletics (UKA) qualification guidelines, on her way to victory at the recent UKA/RWA Championships at University of Warwick, Coventry, whilst Kehler is a former Commonwealth silver medallist.


For more information on the European Cup Race Walking, visit the event’s official website here.


Photo courtesy of European Athletic Association