22/05/2021   A look into the future - part three: 50km 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 6 August starting at 5:30 (local time - 22:30 of the previous day in Europe).
Current projections on weather conditions give us a temperature between 18°-20°  degrees at the start and 22°-24° at the arrival. 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 Wajima:
- 50km male competed on April 11 in Wajima with 12°-13° degrees of temperature and 50% of humidity; course: 2km (1km go & back);
Chinese Olympic Selections in Huangshang:
The races were held on March 21 with temperatures around 20° at the start and 25° at the arrival and with humidity of 75%. Course: 2km (1km go & back).
European Championship per Team in Podebrady:
Events held on May 16th in the morning.
The course in the town park was 1km lap. The temperature was around 10°-12° with a humidity of 60%.
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%.
50km men:
Unfortunately, an era ends with this race. A long historical and memorable period that began, in important events, in 1932 with the competition at the Los Angelos Olympics and which told and made us live pages of unforgettable and fascinating events with great deeds, disappointments, memorable crises, infinite and great suffering and finally spirit of friendship between competitors. Getting to the end of a fifty was really a challenge for everyone.
Incidentally, and please allow us this charming memory, to win the 50km in Tokyo 1964, when the Olympics took place in the Country of the Rising Sun, it was an Italian: that monument of the 50km race walk named Abon Pamich (year of birth 1933), born in Fiume (today Rijeka) when the city was still Italian and left in a daring way when he was just 13 years old.
In the Sixties, in addition to gold in Tokyo 1964, Pamich also collected a bronze in Rome 1960, won the European Championships in Belgrade 1962 and those in Budapest 1964 and set the world record for 50.000m track walk in Rome on 16.11.1061 clocking 4:14:02.4h.
We want to dedicate the cover image to him, now eighty-seven.
We will miss this legendary 50km as before we missed the 100km.
It will be replaced by the 35km which in a short time will be seen as a continuation of the 20km because the athletes will almost certainly be able to walk at 4:00 per km. In short, where the real 50km began now the race will end.
The competitions held so far suggest us, in view of the Olympic races, a probable Japanese domination, even if the 50km race is always difficult to predict and to finish because, much more than in the other two races, the unpredictability factor is on the agenda. 
In Wajima, times were far better than in the other races.
The first three of the season top list are Japanese with Satoshi Maruo walking in 3:38:42 who obtained the best performance in 2021. In second and third place we find Hayato Katsuki (3:42:34) and in third Kai Kobayashi (3:43:01). The first two together with the world champion, Yusuke Suzuki, will form a formidable trio in Sapporo and can only be the big favorites.

In Hungshan (China) race up to the 40th km, the final projection for the first two was a time of 3:42:00, then for both there was in last 10km a lot of suffering.
Lu Yadong, already 4th at the Doha World Championships, closed in 3:46:51. Wang Qin, who has a personal best of 3:38:01 finished in 3:47:35. They are two athletes who, however, can make good in the Olympic competition.


In Europe, the best time was recorded by the German Jonathan Hilbert with 3:43:44, which is also a personal best, in the Frankfurt race on 10 April. At the moment, the German does not seem capable of fighting for the top. Let's give the Ukrainian Maryan Zakaknytskyy more chance: this year he raced 3:46:28 in Antalya (TUR) and we remember already brilliant winner of the European Championships in Berlin 2018 and fourth in Taicang in 2018 in the World Team Championship.
The European Cup highlighted the Spaniard Marc Tur who won with a mark of 3:47:40, a performance very far from that of the Japanese. It is difficult for him to fight for a medal as well as for the other European athletes seen in Podêbrady, thoug some athlete who stood out in Doha was missing such as: Joāo Viera
It is difficult to judge South American athletes. The race took place in difficult weather conditions and the marks obtained are not very indicative. Certainly some athletes from overseas, especially at the start of the race, will want to stand out, but at the moment we don't see any athletes who could be the protagonists, if not perhaps Andres Chocho: technique permitting.
Finally, we must not forget the Canadian Evan Dunfee, always a good interpreter and medalist in the last important races.
Two unknowns weigh on the prediction:
- Will Tóth (Svk) and Diniz (Fra) be at the start?
Will any Russians be admitted? Even if we remember that in the Russian championships in Sochi on February 19, the 35km was disputed and the results obtained were not exciting.
However, there are still about three months left until the Olympic competitions, so many things can change. For this reason, no athlete will have to abandon his Olympic dream.
The hard and constant work, determination, and the heart will be decisive as always. As the incomparable and unforgettable Pino Dordoni said: “At the start of a race they are all on the same line. Everyone has to cultivate their own ambitions. Then the many variations during the competition will establish the order of arrival. This is why we must never give up."