• Kyodo, Reuters

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Massimo Stano of Italy won gold in the men's 20-kilometer race walk on Thursday in Sapporo, followed closely by Japan's Koki Ikeda and Toshikazu Yamanishi in the silver and bronze medal positions, respectively.

Stano finished in 1 hour, 21 minutes, 5 seconds, with Ikeda finishing in 1:21:14, ahead of Yamanishi in 1:21:28.

A pack of eight athletes led for the majority of the race before Stano, ranked 9th in the world, pulled ahead at around the 17-km mark with the two Japanese in tow.

World No. 1 Yamanishi, the pre-competition favorite, showed signs of fatigue in the summer heat and gradually fell behind. Ikeda held on for a while longer but eventually succumbed to Stano's seemingly infinite energy to finish nine seconds behind.

The event was held in Sapporo to avoid Tokyo's searing summer heat but temperatures were still an uncomfortable 32 degrees Celsius (90 degrees Fahrenheit) when the race began.

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