Korzeniowski and Fernandez walking-favourites
When double Olympic gold medallist Robert Korzeniowski concentrates on the 50 kilometre walk, which is the case in the European championships in Munich, then that is something to watch out for. In any case, the walking superstar will take this event very seriously and is aiming for a similar show of strength as last year at the world championships in Edmonton.
Robert Korzeniowski (Foto: Kiefner)With a finishing time of 3:42:08 hours in Edmonton, he was almost a minute ahead of the Spaniard, Jesus Angel Garcia, who is also a top favourite in Munich. Aigars Fadejevs from Latvia, who often gives a daring performance during the event, was relegated to an unlucky fourth place in Edmonton, but was still able to repeat his medal win in Budapest some 4 years ago when he won silver in the 20 kilometres walk, and this time is concentrating on the longer distance. The Russian walkers, led by Alexej Voyevodin (3:40:42 h), have the lead amongst this year's world best. The Italian Marco Giungi comes with a best personal time this year so far of 3:45:55 hours.
Spain's Fernandez – Top favourite
The 20 kilometre title will only be awarded to someone who can beat the Spaniard Francisco Ja Fernandez. At the end of April he was the one who set the world record at 1:17:22 hours and takes a considerable lead in the world ranks. According to the German competitor Andre Hoehne, who wants to improve upon his performance time of 1:22:05 hours, then Russian Victor Burayev has a first-rate chance of obtaining silver, whereas the battle for bronze is wide open. Andrej Stadnichuk (RUS), Robert Heffernan (IRL), Juan Molina (ESP) or Joao Vieiro (POR) all have good chances.
Olimpiada Ivanova – once again the best?
Not only André Hoehne but Melanie Seeger too, the latter being Germany's only female walker, has a winning tip for her event, the 20 kilometre walk. Her forecast – "Olimpiada Ivanova followed by Susanna Feitor. Bronze will go to Elisabetta Perrone. However, with this year's best time of 1:27:10 h Yelena Nikolayeva also has good prospects. Spain's Maria Vasco gave a convincing performance this year in La Coruna and set a national record of 1:28:47 hours, whilst the Norwegian Olympic runner-up, Kjersti Plaetzer, was also relatively fast with a time of 1:29:19 hours. Local athletic fans hope to see Melanie Seeger placed between No. 6 and 8. Last year she underscored her potential as No. 7 at the Worlds by setting a new national record of 1:30:41 hours.