20/05/2021   A look into the future - part one: 20km men




This year, although the pandemic problem has continued, some very important races have been held that can make us make an in-depth examination of the future prospects in view of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. The Olympic competition will take place in Sapporo: Thursday 5 August the 20km men starting at 16:30 (local time - 9:30 in Europe).
Current projections on weather conditions give us a temperature between 24°-26° degrees. Humidity should be around 60%-70%.
As you can easily see the atmospheric conditions will be very different from those that the athletes have found in the competitions held in recent months, apart from the Pan-American Cup races held in Guayaquil (ECU) where the conditions were very similar to those that the athletes will find. in Sapporo.
The competitions that have been examined are:
Japanese Championships in Kobe:
- 20km male  competed on February 21 in Kobe with 15°-16° degrees of temperature and 60% of humidity; course: 1km go & back;
Chinese Olympic Selections in Huangshang:
The races were held on March 20 with temperatures of 14°-16° and with humidity of 100° because it was raining. Course of 1km go & back.
European Championship per Team in Podebrady:
Events held on May 16th.
The course in the town park was 1km lap. The temperature was around 12°-14° with a humidity of 65%.
Guayaquil Pan-American Race walking Cup:
Events held on May 8 on a 2km course (go & back) with temperatures between 25°-26° and humidity of 75%.
Obviously, our examination lacks a race that is notoriously always of great interest to evaluate the conditions of the athletes before the important competitions: the Grand Prix Cantones de La Coruña Sergio Vasques which will take place on Saturday June 5, and in which the Chinese athletes, good protagonists of the last editions, will certainly not participate.
20km men:
Taking into consideration the average of the top eight, the Hungshang race (1:18:10), as we highlighted in our news on March 25th, was the fastest race ever.
Winner Wang Kaihua set a time of 1:16:45.



Equally fast was the race in Kobe with an average of the first eight of 1:19:46 with the winner Toshikazu Yamanishi, reigning world champion, who stopped the clock on a time of 1:17:20.


In Guayaquil the average of the top eight was 1:22:18. The winner, Eider Arevalo, world champion in London 2017 finished with a mark of 1:21:35.



In Podebrady the average was 1:19:41 and it is among the fastest races ever held between European athletes. The winner, Perseus Karloström (SWE), covered the 20km in 1:18:54.

Having made this statistical overview of the four races, let's try to hypothesize a prediction on the Olympic race.
The race will be extremely close, with at least fifteen athletes who will present themselves with podium ambitions.
The last 5km will almost certainly be decisive. Those who want to win or place themselves will have to finish with a split under 19:00.
The favorite still seems to us Toshikazu Yamanashi who hasn't lost a race from two years. But as mentioned many others aspire to the medal.
Among the many names the most eligible opponents of the Japanese could be:
- his compatriots, Eiki Takahashi and Koki Ikeda;
- the Chinese Wang Kaihua (although he has always failed on important occasions so 
- the Swede Perseus Karlström, a great fighter and always difficult to shake him off;
- the Colombian Eider Arevalo always deadly in the finals;
- the Brazilian Caio Bonfim.
A step below these we place the Spanish trio: Alvaro Martin, Diego Garcia and Miguel Angel López; the Italian Massimo Stano; the Turkish Salih Kormaz and the Ecuadorians Brian Daniel Pintado and David Hurtado.
We give less chance to the other two Chinese: Zhang Jun (in his first major international experience) and Cai Zelin (always at technical risk);
A separate discussion must be made on the Russians (this in all three races). At the moment, the names of those who will be admitted as neutral (ANA) to the competitions are not known. If they were to participate, the names of Vasily Mizinov (1:18:45 in Sochi on February 19) and Sergey Shirobokov (1:19:23 in the same race) should also be added to the names mentioned above.