Walkers warm up for Europe Athletics Race Walking Meeting in Podebrady

A number of the continent's top walkers warmed up this weekend for the forthcoming Europe Athletics Race Walking Meeting in the Czech spa town of Podebrady on April 21.

This year will see the 80th anniversary of the famous event on the walking calendar and feature an international team contest between 11 nations, with senior men's and women's events over 20km.

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.

Obviously, there will be significant interest in Podebrady about how the local Czech walkers perform and Lucie Pelantova, who set a 20km personal best at the first Europe Athletics Race Walking Meeting in Lugano last month, showed good form on Saturday when got her first victory over the distance this year with a win on home soil in Olomouc in 1:36:21.

Slovakia's Milos Batovsky won the men's 20km there in 1:28:03.

Belarus will also be sending a team to Podebrady and Nastassia Yatsevich won the Belarus Cup 20km race in Nesvvizh in 1:33:00 on Saturday.

The men´s 20 km winner was Vitaliy Talankov in 1:24:48 while the men´s 35km title was taken by the well-known Ivan Trotskiy in 2:35:31, taking the honours in a close race ahead of Dmitriy Dyubin, who was second in 2:36:09.

There was a fast junior men's 10km with Yauheni Zalesski winning in an impressive personal best of 41:22 while Artsiom Turkau, who has just turned 18 and so will be eligible for the 2013 European Athletics Junior Championships in the Italian town of Rieti, took almost a minute off his best when finishing second in 41:27.

The Balkan Walking Championships were also celebrated in Bucharest at the weekend, and were dominated by Romanian and Turkish competitors.

Romania's Ana Rodean won the women's 20 km in 1:35:17 while Turkish girls took the honours in the junior women's 10km and youth girl's 5km, Gamze Ozgor winning the former in 47:54.21 while Derya Karakort took the latter title in 24:17.39.

In the men's events, Serbia's Predrag Filipovic won the men's senior 20km in 1:28:50; the junior men's 10km gold medal was won by Greece's Konstantinos Ntentopoulos in 43:48.51 while there was a home win in the youth's 5km for Turkey's Murat Can, who crossed the line in 21:10.03.