Lorena Arenas won the silver medal in 20 km of walking at the Olympic Games


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Lorena Arenas won the silver medal in 20 km of walking at the Olympic Games

Colombian Lorena Arenas claimed the silver medal in the discipline of the 20km walk at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. The Italian Antonella Palmisano won the gold and the china Holg Liu took bronze.

The Pan-American champion registered a time of 1:29:37 and became runner-up. In this way he added the fifth medal of the Colombian delegation in these Games.

The 30-year-old athlete from Mottola attacked four kilometers from the finish and went alone to the finish line to win with a time of 1h29: 12. Sandra Arenas, twice fifth in the World Cups, advanced positions in the last two kilometers and took the silver medal.

The Chinese Holg Liu took the bronze with 1h29: 57, after the penalty of the Brazilian Erica de Sena when she was about to hunt down Sandra Arenas, and the Spanish María Pérez, European champion, came fourth with 1h30: 05.

Another Chinese, Yang Jiayu, who was running second with 2 km from the end, had to stop two minutes in the pits for an irregular march, thus losing all medal options.

Despite the fact that the test started at 4.30 p.m., the weather conditions in Sapporo’s Odori Park were similar to those suffered by the men of the 50 km march, who had left at 5.30: 31 degrees and 61 percent humidity.

Liu Hong, who topped the Chinese treble at the 2019 Doha World Cup, in meteorological conditions not very different from those of Sapporo, started as a favorite to revalidate his Olympic title in Rio 2016

World record holder of 20 (until this year) and 50 kilometers, Liu aspired to become, at 34, the first in history to win consecutive world and Olympic titles.

The powerful Chinese team also lined up the 2017 world champion, Yang Jiayu, who this year snatched the world record by 49 seconds (1h23: 49) and had been disqualified at the Doha World Cup. Qieyang Shijie completed the Chinese shortlist, fourth on the all-time list with 1h24: 45, silver at the London 2012 Games and twice bronze at the World Cups.

Antonella Palmisano, who stayed in Rio at the foot of the podium and a year later won the bronze in the World Cup, with Qieyang and the Brazilian Erica de Sena formed the front of the group in the first km. María Pérez, Sandra Arenas and the Ecuadorian Glenda Morejón occupied more discreet positions in the package.

Palmisano, third in the 2017 World Cup after being fourth in the Rio Games, went through the 10 km in 45:57 at the head of the first group, which had lost weight to 15.

The third Spanish, Laura García Caro, was penalized with a two-minute stop for irregular gait. María Pérez continued behind the Italian and the Chinese, such as Sandra Arenas, the Ecuadorian Paola Pérez and the Mexican Alegna González.

In the twelfth km the Chinese took the lead to accelerate. There were a dozen left above, but some already with the hook. The Spanish Raquel González had stayed before km 15, which the first ones covered in 1h08: 29, and shortly after Qieyang yielded.

The group had been reduced to six units to face the last 5 kilometers: Palmisano, the two Chinese, María Pérez, De Sena and Sandra Arenas.

María Pérez was the next to fall, at km 16, with the change made by the Italian, who in a short time was left with Yang Kiayu and a few seconds later completely alone.

The Italian went unopposed to victory, and the drama unleashed from behind. Yang was penalized with two minutes, a penalty that put Arenas in second place, but the Brazilian saw her close and, in her desperate attempt to pass her, incurred a penalty that relegated her to eleventh place.

The beneficiary was Hong Liu, who prevailed in hand-to-hand with María Pérez to climb to the last step of the podium.

The Mexican Alegna González finished fifth and the Ecuadorian Paola Pérez ninth.


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