Russian Kirdyapkin wins gold in Olympic 50K race

LONDON: Sergei Kirdyapkin of Russia won gold in the 50-kilometer walk at the London Games on Saturday, breaking the Olympic record by more than a minute.

Kirdyhapkin finished 54 seconds ahead of Jared Tallent of Australia, who took silver. Si Tianfeng of China was 1 minute, 17 seconds behind to win bronze in the grueling race along the streets of central London.

A Russian last won the event at the 1992 Barcelona Games.

Kirdyapkin took a commanding lead at the 45-kilometer mark and crossed the finish line near Buckingham Palace in 3 hours, 35 minutes, 59 seconds. The previous Olympic mark of 3:37.09 was set by Alex Schwazer of Italy when he won the race at the Beijing Games four years ago.

Schwazer was expelled from the London Olympics after he failed a doping test before the games. He later admitted having used the blood-boosting hormone EPO, saying he felt immense pressure to defend his title in London.

With Schwazer out, Russian walkers were the favorites to claim the gold.

Kirdyapkin won the world championship title in 2005 and 2009, but failed to finish the race in Beijing. Current world champion Sergei Bakulin of Russia finished sixth.





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