The always outstanding Tallent wins SILVER, as Peacock qualifies for Rio 2016

ROME, ITALY - MAY 08: Jared Tallent wins second place of the 50KM Race Walk at IAAF Race Walking Team Campionship Rome 2016, on May 7, 2016 in Rome, Italy. (Photo by Tullio M. Puglia/Getty Images for IAAF)
ROME, ITALY – MAY 08: Jared Tallent wins second place of the 50KM Race Walk at IAAF Race Walking Team Campionship Rome 2016, on May 7, 2016 in Rome, Italy. (Photo by Tullio M. Puglia/Getty Images for IAAF)

The amazing career of Jared Tallent (Vic) has continued in Rome (ITA) today, with the Olympic champion winning SILVER in the men’s 50km walk at the IAAF World Race Walking Team Championships.

Adding to the one gold and two bronze medals he has won in the event at previous instalments of the championship, the result highlights Tallent’s impressive return to form after a hampered build-up and sets him on course for yet another impressive Olympic campaign later this year.

“I’ve had a rough start to the year and this is a great turn around. I’m very proud of this result. It all started to come together at altitude and to come away with this amazing performance today shows me that I am back on track for Rio. This is the ideal stepping stone for the Olympic Games,” Tallent said.

"ROME, ITALY - MAY 08: Competitiors in action during the 50KM Race Walk at IAAF Race Walking Team Campionship Rome 2016, on May 7, 2016 in Rome, Italy. (Photo by Tullio M. Puglia/Getty Images for IAAF)"
“ROME, ITALY – MAY 08: Competitiors in action during the 50KM Race Walk at IAAF Race Walking Team Campionship Rome 2016, on May 7, 2016 in Rome, Italy. (Photo by Tullio M. Puglia/Getty Images for IAAF)”

One of the leaders from the sound of the gun, Tallent (3:42:36) shared the front spot with eventual winner Alex Schwazer (ITA, first, 3:39:00), Marco de Luca (ITA, 4th, 3:44:47, PB), Matteo Guipponi (ITA, 8th, 3:52:27) and Yucheng Han (CHN, DNF) for much of the race.

ROME, ITALY - MAY 08: Jared Tallent in action during the 50KM Race Walk at IAAF Race Walking Team Campionship Rome 2016, on May 7, 2016 in Rome, Italy. (Photo by Tullio M. Puglia/Getty Images for IAAF)
ROME, ITALY – MAY 08: Jared Tallent in action during the 50KM Race Walk at IAAF Race Walking Team Campionship Rome 2016, on May 7, 2016 in Rome, Italy. (Photo by Tullio M. Puglia/Getty Images for IAAF)

At the 30-kilometre mark, Schwazer put his foot down to take a lead that he would not relinquish, with Tallent moving into clear second at the 40-kilometre mark. Igor Glavan (UKR, third, 3:44.02) surged forward in the closing stages to win bronze.

“I tried to go with the pace throughout the race and stick with something that would see me finish with about 3:40:00. The eventual winner put in a hard ten-kay between the 30 and 40 kilometre mark, which made the road home seem long but I was able to hold it together. I’m happy about that given the short preparation I’ve had,” Tallent added.

ROME, ITALY - MAY 08: Alex Schwazer celebrates with Sandro Donati after winning the 50KM Race Walk at IAAF Race Walking Team Campionship Rome 2016, on May 7, 2016 in Rome, Italy. (Photo by Tullio M. Puglia/Getty Images for IAAF)
ROME, ITALY – MAY 08: Alex Schwazer celebrates with Sandro Donati after winning the 50KM Race Walk at IAAF Race Walking Team Campionship Rome 2016, on May 7, 2016 in Rome, Italy. (Photo by Tullio M. Puglia/Getty Images for IAAF)

Tallent will now return to the Australian Institute of Sport’s base in Varese (ITA) before one final race in La Coruna (ESP) ahead the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. He will then return to Australia, where in Melbourne on 17 June he will at last be presented with his much deserved gold medal from London 2012.

“I have to get one more race in before the Olympics and La Coruna gives me that chance. I’m a bit underdone from a racing perspective and that should get the cobwebs out before Rio,” Tallent said.

“I can’t wait to get my medal in Melbourne. It will be the ultimate motivation to have it before heading overseas again and I can’t wait to share it with my family and friends.”

For more information on the IAAF World Race Walking Team Championships, including race previews for each event, please click here to visit the event sub-site at iaaf.org.

With thanks to Pat Birgan in Rome

Australia wins two team medals at Rome 2016, as Bird-Smith storms home for fourth

Australia has enjoyed great success on day one at the IAAF World Race Walking Team Championships, winning a silver and bronze in team events for women alongside five impressive personal best performances.

Led by Regan Lamble (Vic), who placed 12th in a time of 1:29:33, the open women ensured their second place finish behind victors China thanks to equally commendable career best times by Beki Smith (NSW, 15th, 1:29:49) and Tanya Holliday (SA, 16th, 1:29:56).

The result delivered the green and gold its first ever team medal in the women’s 20km walk at the IAAF World Race Walking Team Championships, with Lamble delighted to share the spoils of a podium finish with her teammates after executing her race plan almost perfectly.

“My plan today was to come away with a PB, I ticked that box, and I executed the race plan that I had quite well, which is very promising. The conditions were great, the course was fantastic and there was plenty of support out there, just what you want at a big competition like this,” Lamble said.

“It’s just amazing that we’ve come away with a silver medal. I went in to the race knowing that the girls were in good shape, and that we could upset someone to win something. A decent team result was what we were chasing, but to come away with a silver is pretty special. Everybody walked so well, we had three personal bests from five starters and we worked together really well.”

The point scoring trio of Lamble, Smith and Holliday were joined on course by the Olympic Games bound Rachel Tallent (Vic), who placed 41st in a time of 1:34:16, while Stephanie Stigwood (Tas) finished 67th in 1:38:42.

Not to be outdone, the junior girls’ team of Clara Smith (Qld), Tayla-Paige Billington (Vic) and Zoe Hunt (ACT) combined to ensure a bronze medal result in their 10-kilometre event. Smith was the first past the post in a time of 47:10, followed by Billington (14th, 47:41) and Hunt (17th, 48:11).

ROME, ITALY - MAY 07: Competitiors in action during the woman's 10Km Race Walk at IAAF World Race Walking Team Championship Rome 2016 on May 7, 2016 in Rome, Italy. (Photo by Tullio M. Puglia/Getty Images for IAAF)
ROME, ITALY – MAY 07: Competitiors in action during the woman’s 10Km Race Walk at IAAF World Race Walking Team Championship Rome 2016 on May 7, 2016 in Rome, Italy. (Photo by Tullio M. Puglia/Getty Images for IAAF)

“I’m so proud of all the Australian girls. We gave it such a good shot and now it’s about bringing on the World Juniors. There’s a month to go and I’m pumped,” Billington said.

“This shows I am in great shape and that’s fantastic. To really push my last competition as a junior like this is amazing. The experience has been amazing,” Smith said.

In the boy’s 10km walk, Adam Garganis (Vic) stopped the clock in a career best 42:24 for 14th, with Kyle Swan (Vic, 32nd, 44:07) and Tyler Jones (NSW, 40th, 45:40) hot on his heels.
A top-eight finisher at the Beijing 2015 IAAF World Championships, Dane Bird-Smith (Qld) was also outstanding at Rome 2016 today, with the 23-year-old placing just outside the medals in fourth in the men’s 20km walk.

Stopping the clock in a career best time of 1:19:38, his first time quicker than eighty minutes, the result provides Bird-Smith with a massive confidence boost ahead of his maiden start in the same event at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games later this year.

“Today was a bit of a rollercoaster for me. I went to bed pumped to finally get a chance to race and almost didn’t start after waking up running a fever, the worst timed virus of my career. I’ve got to thank my fiancé, my coach and Dad, Dave, and family for getting me out there and through it,” Bird-Smith said.

“This event is overshadowed this year by the Olympic Games, but the important thing for me is that this field in the 20km race today is probably stronger and bigger than we will see in Rio. I knew I was up against it so the performance is pretty special.

“This is my first sub-80 minute performance and a massive 30-second personal best. I’m totally stoked to show the world what I can do on a bad day. I wanted them to know that when they see an Australian singlet in Rio there is something to fear.

“There’ll be no easing off the gas between now and Rio, it’s all about the Olympic Games now.”

Rhydian Cowley (Vic) was the next best placed Australian in the men’s 20km walk, crossing 39th in 1:23:21. Brendon Reading (ACT, 91st, 1:32:32) and Nathan Brill (Vic, 92nd, 1:32:48) also competed, while Michael Hosking (Vic) did not start.

Competition at Rome 2016 continues this evening AEST, with London 2012 Olympic champion Jared Tallent (Vic) on course hunting for a fourth individual medal at the IAAF World Race Walking Team Championships.

Tallent’s start follows an already exciting weekend for the three-time Olympic medallist after the Australian Olympic Committee President, John Coates, yesterday confirmed he will be presented with his well-deserved London 2012 gold medal in Melbourne (Vic) on 17 June.

For more information on this, and to read a statement from Tallent and Athletics Australia CEO, Phil Jones, please click here.

For more information on the IAAF World Race Walking Team Championships, including race previews for each event, please click here to visit the event sub-site at iaaf.org.

With thanks to Pat Birgan in Rome.

Statement from Jared Tallent
“I’m ecstatic to be finally getting the medal I deserve”

An elated Jared Tallent (Vic) looks forward to receiving his much deserved London 2012 Olympic Games gold medal in Melbourne (Vic) on Friday 17 June.

Speaking from Rome (ITA), where Tallent continues to prepare for competition in the men’s 50km walk at the IAAF World Race Walking Team Championships, the three-time Olympic medallist is most excited about having the opportunity to share the occasion with family and friends.

“I’m ecstatic to be finally getting the medal that I deserve. The gold medal I should have received in London has been a long time coming,” Tallent said.

“It’ll be a magical moment to receive it in Melbourne in front of my family and friends. I grew up in Victoria and was born in Ballarat, so it will great to receive the medal there. So many of the people who helped me from when I was a kid through to London are from the area. It means a lot to me that we can celebrate this together.

“I’m looking forward to heading to Rio as the defending Olympic champion and having the medal beforehand means everything is in its place, just as it should be.

“I imagine the medal must be on its way back to the IOC in Lausanne now. Let’s hope the Russian Postal service is more efficient than their anti-doping agency.”

Athletics Australia Chief Executive Officer, Phil Jones, once again applauded Tallent for the way he has handled himself through what has been a drawn out process.

“This is an outstanding result for Jared Tallent and for athletics in Australia. We are so proud of his achievement in London and we can’t wait to share the presentation of his medal with him in Melbourne next month,” Jones said.

“Jared has handled himself brilliantly throughout this process and we wish him every success in Rome tomorrow. The IAAF World Race Walking Team Championships were set to deliver a big weekend for Australian race walking already, with this outcome adding to existing excitement.

“We encourage everybody to join us to witness Jared’s medal presentation next month. Further details on what will be a fantastic day will be made available shortly, but make a note in your diary to come along to the steps of the Treasury Building on the Friday 17 June.”

Thanks to Athletics Australia

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