Tóth and Di Vicenzo triumph in Podebrady

Slovakia's Matej Toth won the men's 20km
walk title at the European Athletics Race Walking
Meeting in Podebrady on Saturday.
Slovakia's Matej Tóth and Italy's Sibilla Di Vincenzo fulfilled their roles as favourites in the 20km races at the European Athletics Race Walking Meeting in the Czech spa town of Podebrady on Saturday.

Tóth, the 2010 Race Walking World Cup 50km gold medallist, won his third consecutive high quality 20km race in barely a month while Di Vincenzo led home an Italian clean sweep of the places on the podium in the women's race.

On a pleasantly warm day with temperatures just topping 20 degrees, and fortunately very little wind, Tóth was in front from almost the gun and crossed the line in 1:21:54 for his fourth win in Podebrady, just over a minute in front of Finland's Jarkko Kinnunen who finished second in 1:23:12

"It wasn't as easy as it may have looked but I had control over the race all the time. It was pity I had to go all the way by myself, it would have been better to compete with someone else. I had a little problem around 15km to find the right motivation, but it was worth winning.

"I knew there wasn't any chance to go for a personal best because I felt tired from previous races. but I raced at a pace to go for the win." said Tóth, who had also won in Podebrady in 2003, 2008, and 2009.
Hungary, lead home by Sándor Rácz who finished third in 1:23:54, won the men's team title ahead of Slovakia and Italy.

For more than half of the women's race it looked like the home star and defending Podebrady champion Lucie Pelantová might be on her way to a second consecutive win but she started to struggle from 11km onwards.

Di Vincenzo and then Federica Ferraro went past Pelantová. The former had a slight advantage at the bell as the pair entered the last of the 1066.13-metre circuits (the unusual distance being due to construction work on the normal circuit) and she held it to the line, winning in 1:34:16.

"The course wasn't that easy and my only goal was to finish. It's a great thing for me to win here and I hope I can repeat this result at the World (Race Walking) Cup," said the winner.
Ferraro finished eight seconds in arrears and her compatriot Antonella Palmisano came through strongly on the last lap to finish third in 1:24:27.

Pelantová was nine second further back, and just 20 seconds covered the first four women home, but she had the compensation of being the Czech national champion for the fourth time.

Italians were, not surprisingly, first in the senior women's international match with the hosts in second place ahead of Hungary.

The Czech twins Anežka and Eliška Drahotová finished first and third - the former winning in 47:47 and by almost a minute - in the junior women's 10km to lead the Czech team to the junior women's title. The sisters were separated by Italy's silver medallist Anna Clemente.

Italy got a one-two in the junior men's 10km with Vito Minei clocking 43:11 and finishing one second ahead of his team mate Francesco Fortunato and the Italians also took the team title.

Details of all the 2012 European Athletics Race Walking Permit Meetings can be found here.