A late rally by Africa champion Samuel Gathimba proved futile as the Kenyan settled 30th in the men’s 20km race walk in the final day of the World Championships in London on Sunday.
Gathimba, who was left alone in the race after compatriot Simon Wachira withdrew after 6km with a congested chest, clocked a season’s best of 1:22:52.
The 2012 World Junior 10,000m race walk champion Colombian Eider Arevalo, finally cracked it to claim his first major in a national record time of 1 hour and 18.53 minutes, beating neutral athlete from Russia Sergei Shirobokov to silver in 1:18:55.
Brazilian Caio Bonfim broke Africa continent’s hopes for medal, passing Lebogang Shange from South Africa in the last kilometre to claim bronze in a Brazilian national record of 1:19:04. Shange, who lost the Africa title to Gathimba after settling for bronze, came in fourth in a national record time of 1:19:18.
“My body didn’t react well during the warm up hence my slow start,” said Gathimba. “I rallied in the last 10km when my body gained momentum but it was a bit late.”
Gathimba said it was a good show from him compared to Rio Olympic Games where he failed to finish the race alongside Wachira. “We got ill on arrival and I think it took tall on us,” said Gathimba, who now turns his focus on Commonwealth Games due April next year in Australia.
“I will take a break for two weeks then resume training. I intend to polish on my technique and speed,” said Gathimba.
Wachira said he had not recovered well for the race. “I started well but I just couldn’t break well with a congested chest,” said Wachira, who also turns his focus on the Commonwealth.
"I hope to be healthy then."