Lashmanova and Vieira take Rio Maior titles

Lashmanova and Vieira take Rio Maior titles
European Athletics

Lashmanova and Vieira take Rio Maior titles.

Russia's London 2012 Olympic Games 20km walk champion Yelena Lashmanova fulfilled her role as the favourite for the European Athletics Race Walking Permit Meeting in Rio Maior, Portugal, and triumphed in 1:28:19 on Saturday afternoon.

However, the 22nd Grande Prémio Internacional de Rio Maior em Marcha Atlética also saw the slowest time of Lashmanova's career over the distance, although it has to be said that she is only in her second year as a senior and her Portuguese outing was only the fifth time she has raced over the distance, at which she holds the world record with 1:25:02.

Lashmanova, who turns just 21 on Tuesday, was part of a pack that stayed together through the first half of the race before she edged away in the second 10km.

However, Guatemala's Mirna Ortiz never lost sight of her and improved her own North, Central American and Caribbean record to 1.28.31 when finishing second.

Portuguese women filled the two places behind the leading pair the 2013 he national champion and Portuguese record holder Ana Cabecinha taking third place from her compatriot, and Rio Maior native, Inês Henriques; the pair timed in 1:29:21 and 1:29:56 to complete the quartet of finishers in under one-and-a-half hours.

Spain's 2012 Rio Maior winner Beatriz Pascual, having her first race of the year, could only finish sixth in 1:31:49.

Portuguese record holder João Vieira took the honours in the men's race, getting the applause from family and friends as he also hails from the Portuguese town just north of Lisbon.

Now 37, Vieira made the pace for the main leading group was in the front of the leading group before pulling away in the final 5km after Guatemala's 2012 Olympic Games 20km silver medalist Erick Barrondo had been disqualified just before 14km.

Vieira, the 2006 and 2010 European Athletics Championships 20km bronze medallist, crossed the line in 1.21.08, finishing 45 seconds in front of his twin brother Sérgio, the latter posting his third fastest time of his career and his best since 2008.

This was the first time in the last 10 years that there were two Portuguese men on the podium, with João Vieira getting his second win in this event no less than 16 years after his last victory, n in 1997 when the race was over 10km.

The next of the four 2013 European Athletics Race Walking Permit Meetings will be in the Czech spa town of Podebrady next Saturday, on 13 April.