Friday, September 29, 2023

The Spanish medal options, concentrated in six tests

On the banks of the Danube, the National Athletics Center in Budapest will host the Outdoor Athletics World Championships from August 19 to 27 in an event marked by high temperatures to which Spain attends with a total of 60 athletes (27 men and 33 women), five of whom ‘will double the event (Álvaro Martín and María Pérez in 20 and 35 km walk, Mohamed Katir in 1,500 and 5,000, Jaël Bestué in 100 and 200 meters plus the short relay and María Vicente in longitude and triple).

Taking into account that last year in Eugene the first European country in the medal table was Poland with only one gold and four medals (Spain finished with the bronzes of Mohamed Katir in 1,500 and Asier Martínez in 110 hurdles), the truth is that the options to get on the podium are as firm as they are not abundant as they are concentrated in only six tests (the 20 and 50 kilometer walk for men and women plus the ‘milqui’ and the 5,000 masculine).

20km walk

In chronological order, The men’s 20 km walk will open the World Cups on Saturday 19 at 8.50 am with the presence of Álvaro Martín from Extremadura (gold in the last two European Championships), Diego García from Madrid (continental bronze in 2022 and silver in 2018), the young Paul McGrath (recent European sub’23 champion) and Luis Alberto Amezcua, champion of Spain in 2022.

Without forgetting Diego Garcia, The great medal option in this test is Martín. The one from Llerena is prepared to take a step forward worldwide after proving that he is the best in this test on the Old Continent and starts with the sixth best mark of the year with 1h:18.49, after the Chinese Jun Zhang (1h:17.38), the Brazilian Caio Bonfim (1h:18.29), the Japanese Koki Izeda (1h:18.36), Ecuadorian David Hurtado (1h:18.45) and Australian Declan Tingay (1h:18.46). In any case, perhaps the most dangerous will be the current Italian Olympic champion Massimo Stano (1h:20.07 this year) and the champion of the last two World Cup editions, the Japanese Toshikazu Yamanishi (1h:20.58 in 2023).

Miguel Ángel López is the current 35 km European champion EFE

The next day, the young Antía Chamosa will be in the women’s 20 km walk starting at 7.10 a.m. together with María Pérez from Granada, champion in the 20-kilometre walk of the last two European and fourth at the Tokyo Olympics, just eight hundredths behind bronze (the Chinese Liu Hong).

The disciple of Jacinto Garzón is presented with the best mark of the year, which is also her personal record (1:25:30), followed by the defending world title holder Kimberly García León (Peru, 1h:26.40) and the world champion in 2017, Jiayu Yang (China, 1h:26.41). Chinese veteran Hong Liu (gold at the 2011, 2013, 2015 and 2019 World Cups), current Italian Olympic champion Antonella Palmisano and Colombian Sandra Lorena Arenas (silver at the Tokyo Games) must also be taken into account. .

35km walk

María Pérez also aspires to the maximum in the 35-kilometer walk that will be held on Thursday 24 at 7:00 a.m. with the addition that World Athletics has just homologated his brand new world record that he established last May in the Czech town of Podebrady with 2h:37.15. The attack against the march that the IOC and World Athletics have perpetrated by ‘killing’ the emblematic 50-kilometre test makes it easier for specialists in 20-kilometres to go up in distance or combine them.

María Pérez, at the Cantones Grand Prix in La Coruña EFE

The Granada will not have it easy either in the long test of the march against the current champion, the aforementioned Kimberly García León which also has the second best mark of all time with 2h:35.44. She should also take into account the Polish Katarzyna Zdzieblo (silver in the past World Cups) and the Chinese Shijie Queyang (bronze in 2022), Xueying Bai and Maocuo Li. Also arriving in a privileged position are the ex-Barcelona veteran Raquel González (fifth in the last World Cup and eighth of the year) and the young Cristina Montesinos (ninth).

Spain will have two bullets on paper in the Men’s 35 kilometers with Álvaro Martín (will double) and with the current European champion, Miguel Ángel López from Murcia (The roster is completed by Marc Tur who was fourth in 50 kilometers at the Tokyo Games). The man from Extremadura arrives with the third best mark of the season with 2h:35.35, only behind the Chinese Xianhong He and the Japanese Tomohiro Noda. The current Italian champion Massimo Stano (unmarked this year), the Japanese runner-up Masatora Kawano and the Swedish bronze Perseus Karlström in his first 35 of 2023 also appear on the entry list.

The 1,500 and Katir’s ‘double’

The male ‘milqui’ is the fetish track test of Spanish athletics in the World Cups with a total of six medals (one silver from José Luis González, two from Fermín Cacho, two bronze from Reyes Estévez and one from Mohammed Katir Last year in Eugene with Mario García Romo from Salamanca fourth. Both will be in Budapest in the three and three-quarter laps at the National Athletics Center together with an Adel Mechaal who comes from being silver in 3,000 meters in the European indoor only behind Jakob Ingebrigtsen).

The Norwegian is an almost insurmountable obstacle to gold, although in Eugene he was overcome by the absent British Jake Wightman. The Scandinavian continues to stalk the universal record of the Moroccan El Guerrouj and arrives with the best mark of the year and fourth in history (3:27.14) for the colossal 3:28.89 of the adopted Muleño. He also kept an eye on Mario García Romo (3: 29.18), his training partner, the American Yared Nuguse and the Kenyans Abel Kipsang and Timothy Cheruiyot.

Katir will run the 1,500 and 5,000 in Budapest EFE

Katir will ‘double’ in Budapest and in the 5,000 meters he will also meet the current universal and European champion Ingebrigtsenalthough there the list of rivals grows with the Ethiopians Aregawi, Gebrhiwet and Kejelcha, the Ugandan genius Joshua Cheptegei or the Kenyan Jacob Kprop (silver in Eugene) without forgetting that the recently nationalized Spaniard Thierry Ndikumwenayo is 12th of the year and fourth Spaniard of the history with 12:55.47.

Talk about more real medal options without Ana Peleteiro, Orlando Ortega, Asier Martínez or Eusebio Cáceres it is almost reckless, although we should not forget the options of the women’s 4×100 relay despite the absence of Maribel Pérez (they were fifth in the Eugene World Cup) or the Galician Adri Ben in 800 meters, a test in which he is the current European indoor champion and in the one that was fifth in the Tokyo Games and sixth in the World Cup in Qatar. Or the emerging Catalan Jaime Guerra with his recent personal best of 8.14 meters, although he still lacks a couple of tens of centimeters to settle among the biggest.


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