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Encouraging form by SA walking duo in China
- Updated: September 30, 2016
South Africa’s Rio Olympics race walkers, Lebogang Shange and Wayne Snyman, grabbed the opportunity to ‘cash in’ at this week’s ‘Around Taihu’ International four-day race walking event in Wuzhong, China.
Shange, who is the South African record-holder over 20 kilometres, finished fourth overall in the individual competition and Snyman was part of the team that raced to second place in the team category.
The ‘Around Taihu’ is one of the richest events on the international race walking calendar. First prize in the team competition amounts to R400 000 and second prize R200 000. The prize money for the individual winner was R130 000.
Australia’s bronze medallist in the 20km race walk at the Olympic Games in Rio, Dane-Bird Smith, won the individual men’s competition 3hr 27min 59sec for the 50.5km.
Eider Arevalo (Columbia) was second in the four-day event, finishing in a time of 3:29:30. Perseus Karlstrom (Sweden) was third in 3:30:07 and Shange fourth in 3:34:00.
Snyman was one of Smith’s teammates.
The rest of the team consisted of Arevalo and Yohann Diniz (France). They lost out by merely 38 seconds on winning the team competition.
Not that Snyman (Tuks/HPC) is complaining. He joked that at least he is now able to buy his wife a decent birthday present, something she fully deserves because she’s his most loyal fan.
According to Snyman, pictured right, he totally flopped during the first stage of 20 kilometres.
‘It definitely motivated me, because I felt obliged to make up the time I lost on the first day to bring our team back in contention in the team category. Luckily I got stronger and stronger after each stage.
‘Having Dane and Eider as teammates was definitely a bonus, especially Dane. During the last stage of 10.5km he gave a superb display of how race walking should be done.’
After his dismal performance at the Olympic Games in Rio where he only managed to finish 65th in the 20km race walk, Shange (HPC) was moderately satisfied with his race in Wuzhong.
‘Naturally I would have loved to have podiumed, but it was not meant to be. My goal for each stage was to race from the front, challenging the other walkers. In a way I managed to do so but I could not get the breakthrough I was hoping for,’ said Shange.
Apart from the first stage in which he finished sixth the HPC race walker finished fourth in all the other stages.
Shange said the biggest lesson he learned this year is how important it is to stick to what works.
‘I can only blame myself for what happened at the Rio Games. The closer it got to to the Games the more I began to listen to advice from everybody else about many things.
‘I was told what I should eat, drink, how I should train, what shoes I should wear, etc. I ended up paying the price because just before the Games I got shin splints.
‘I’ve decided that in the build-up to the 2017 World Championships in London I will revert to what I did in 2015. If I do so I will have a realistic chance of getting a top 10 finish.’