Walkers Schwazer and Toth stride to victory in Dudince

Schwazer Alex BCN
Italy's Alex Schwazer clocked a world-leading
50km walk time of 3:40:58 at the European
Athletics Race Walking Permit Meeting in Dudince
on Saturday.
Italy's 2008 Olympic 50km walk gold medallist Alex Schwazer provided the highlight of the second European Athletics Race Walking Permit Meeting of 2012, in the Slovakian spa town of Dudince, when he clocked a world-leading 50km walk time of 3:40.58 on Saturday.

Competing in surprisingly and unseasonable hot weather of over 20 degrees at the end of the race, he produced fourth fastest time of the career his first completed 50km since 2010.

"I'm satisfied with the performance, my main goal was the Italian Olympic standard of 3:54 for London. I was thinking I can go somewhere around 3:45 so even I am surprised it was so fast. It shows I'm in my best shape ever," said Schwazer, who is first Italian winner in 31 years of the famous 'Dudinska Patdesiatka' event

Schwazer was accompanied by his compatriot Matteo Giupponi for the first 25km and then started to push the pace on his own after 35km.

Polish walkers came finished strongly to take second and third places with Lukasz Nowak, eighth over the distance at the 2010 European Athletics Championships, improving his personal best by more than two minutes to 3:44:24 while Rafal Sikora came home in 3:46:52.

Germany's Andre Hohne was fourth in 3:49:50 while Greece's Alexandros Papamihail, who set a national record over 20km a week ago at the first of the 2012 European Athletics Race Walking Permit Meetings in Lugano, was the next man across the line in personal best of 3:55:13 in only his second race over the distance.

However, the hot weather meant that of the 93 walkers who started the 50km, only 45 finished.

Local hero Matej Toth claimed the 20km walk title
with a time of 1:20:42.
In the 20km race, Slovakia's the 2010 Race Walking World Cup 50km winner Matej Toth got his third victory in Dudince, following on from his wins in 2008 and 2010, with a swift time of 1:20:42.

Toth plans to tackle the 50km event at the Olympic Games in London this summer and had a sub-1:20 time as his target in Dudince but after 14km he got warnings and just slightly eased off the pace in the closing kilometres.

France's 2006 and 2010 European Athletics Championships 50km gold medallist Yohann Diniz, who set a national 20km walk record of 1:17:43 a week ago in Lugano, pulled out at 15km.

In the women's 20km, Poland's Paulina Buziak won in 1:33:00 with Ukraine's Olha Yakovenko second in 1:34:21.

Germany's Nils Brembach won the junior men's 10km race in 43:55 while Lithuania's Ginta Vaiciukeviciute won the junior women's 10km in 49:59.

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