Tóth looking for fourth walking win in Podebrady

Matej Toth of Slovakia.
Slovakia's Matej Tóth will be the star name at the Europe Athletics Race Walking Meeting in the Czech spa town of Podebrady on Saturday.

Tóth, the 2010 Race Walking World Cup 50km gold medallist, has only raced over 20km so far this year and will do so again at the 80th anniversary of one of the most famous events on the walking calendar.

He will be looking to extend his 2012 unbeaten winning streak after also being a winner on home soil over at the previous European Athletics Race Walking Permit Meeting in Dudince four weeks ago and then triumphing at the Grande Prémio Internacional de Rio Maior em Marcha Atlética - an IAAF Race Walking Challenge meeting - in the Portuguese town of Rio Maior last Saturday.

In addition to claiming a pair of victories, he posted outstanding winning times of 1:20:42 and 1:20:25 respectively and could challenge his personal best of 1:20:16, which dates from last year, if the weather conditions are helpful and despite his third top class 20km outing in a month.
Tóth has won in Podebrady three times in the past, 2003, 2008 and 2009. He toughest rival on paper should be Italy's Diego Cafagna.

The race also combines the Czech championship and Karel Ketner and Lukas Gdula should fight for their national title.

In total, 11 nations will be represented in the senior men's and women's events over 20km, and there is also an international team competition in both races.

Czech walker Lucie Pelantova, who is already qualified for the Olympics after her performance at the European Athletics Race Walking Permit Meeting in Lugano last month, will defend her Podebrady title with Italy's Sibilla Di Vincenzo looking like her strongest opponent.

There will also be junior men's and women's international races over 10km.

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

The website of the Podebrady 2012 meeting (with details in Czech and English) is here.