BEIJING – Japan’s hopes of a gold medal in the men’s 20-km walk were dashed when world record-holder Yusuke Suzuki pulled out midway through the race at the World Athletics Championships in Beijing on Sunday.
Suzuki, who set the world record at the Asian Race Walking Championships in his hometown of Nomi, Ishikawa Prefecture, in March with a time of 1 hour, 16.36 seconds, has been troubled with a hip issue and he pulled out around the 11-km mark of the race.
“This really stings,” said Suzuki. “It is a disappointing result as people had pinned their hopes on me.
“I started to feel quite a lot of pain from around the 6-km mark. It is the real deal (at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics) next year so I thought I should (not take any risks) and give it up.”
Spain’s Miguel Angel Lopez won the gold medal in a personal best time of 1:19:14, while China’s Wang Zhen took the silver in 1:19:29 and Canadian Benjamin Thorne claimed the bronze in 1:19:57.
Japan’s Isamu Fujisawa was 14th, while Eiki Takahashi was 48th.
In other events, Chisato Fukushima finished third in her heat to qualify for Monday’s women’s 100 meters semifinals with a time of 11.23 seconds.
Yuzo Kanemaru failed to reach the men’s 400 semis, however, placing sixth in his heat with a time of 45.65.
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