Star race-walker Gathimba welcomes proposed IAAF changes


Africa Race walking queen, Grace Wanjiru and king, Samuel Gathimba after sealing the Kenyan double ...
Africa Race walking queen, Grace Wanjiru and king, Samuel Gathimba after sealing the Kenyan double in Durban. PHOTO/Courtesy

In Summary

  • Two-time Africa Athletics Championship 20km race walking gold medalist Samuel Gathimba has welcomed the proposed changes in the walking event.
  •  In a statement published by the International athletics governing body IAAF, the IAAF Race Walking Committee has made several key recommendations to the IAAF Council following broad consultation and consideration of the feedback from member federations, athletes, event organisers and several stakeholders (including broadcasters).

Two-time Africa Athletics Championship 20km race walking gold medalist Samuel Gathimba has welcomed the proposed changes in the walking event.

In a statement published by the International athletics governing body IAAF, the IAAF Race Walking Committee has made several key recommendations to the IAAF Council following broad consultation and consideration of the feedback from member federations, athletes, event organisers and several stakeholders (including broadcasters).

The three major recommendations, agreed at a meeting in Monaco last weekend, reflect the reality that the event programme across all major athletics meetings and events will become shorter and more dynamic so innovation is required in Race Walk to ensure it remains a core discipline in the World Championships and the Olympic Games.

And in an interview with Citizen Digital, Gathimba has welcomed the development, he said: “I like the new arrangements where the events will be shorter, some people have an advantage in the first 10 kilometers and they stand to become the major beneficiaries,” Gathimba who is also the Kenyan champion said.

“In most races I have been struggling in the last 10 kilometers, although we need more categories where the veterans will have their races…”

Gathimba is also a two time Africa silver medalist winner, claiming the honours  in 2014 in Marrakech and  in 2015 in Brazzaville at the All Africa Games), before winning  gold in Durban in 2016 and Asaba  in 2018.

To implement the change in distances, a specific pathway was outlined that would give race walkers a three-year transition period in which to adapt to and prepare for competitions over the new distances.

Implementation of the RWECS technology to assist judges to identify athletes who have lost contact with the ground would only be adopted in 2021 if the necessary tests, introduction and distribution of the insole chips are concluded by the end of 2020.

“I will be waiting for official communication from the National Coach to know on the best way forward”,

“My aim is to be in the best form this year ahead of the World Athletics Championship in Doha, Qatar later in the year,” added Gathimba.

The recommendations at a glance

  • Equality between the sexes should be achieved in Olympic Games and maintained in all major international competitions, with two men’s and two women’s events included on championships programmes;
  • Distances for senior competitions should be changed from 20km and 50km to 10km and 30km from the 2023 World Championships
  • RWECS electronic chip insole technology should be incorporated into competitions from 2021

Event

Men

Women

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

20km / 50km

20km*

Oregon 2021 World Athletics Championships

20km / 30km

20km / 30km

2022 Race Walking Team Championships

10km / 30km

10km / 30km

Budapest 2023 World Athletics Championships

10km / 30km

10km / 30km

Paris 2024 Olympic Games

10km / 30km

10km / 30km

 

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