Henriques and Arneton on top of world

Henriques and Arneton on top of world
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Ines Henriques made a sensational debut at the 50km walk with victory in 4:08:25. Henriques has entered a new record book after the IAAF’s last Council meeting announced that from January 1 performances equal to or faster than 4:30:00 will be accepted as having fulfilled the conditions for a world record.

One is experienced, with 20 years of medals and championships behind them, and the other is just starting out.

They are separated by 22 years but Ines Henriques and Heather Arneton are today joined by the honour of both setting world bests this weekend.

On the roads of home in Porto de Mos, Henriques, 36, made a sensational debut at the 50km walk on Sunday with victory in 4:08:25 while on the same day in Eaubonne, French long jumper Heather Arneton, 14, leaped 6.57m for an age-group mark of stunning brilliance.

Henriques has entered a new record book after the IAAF’s last Council meeting announced that from January 1, performances which are equal to or faster than 4:30:00 will be accepted as having fulfilled the conditions for a world record.

Henriques’ coach Jorge Miguel said: “We achieved the goals we were looking for, which were to be the first Portuguese woman to race the distance and to set a world record.”

Having finished 12th in the 20km walk at last year’s Olympic Games in Rio, Henriques showed that this longer distance suits her perfectly.

It is some adjustment, with the need to keep so much more in reserve for a race where maintaining an optimum speed throughout is something of a mental task as much as it is physical.

It is why she may go even faster.

Being new to the 50km, she started quick and had she had even more in reserve the record could have been lower.

But Henriques, who appeared on the major international stage in 1996 at the World Junior Championships in Sydney, has now become the sensation of this distance, eclipsing the old mark of 4:10:59 by Sweden’s Monica Svensson which was set in 2007.

The IAAF reported her 5km splits as: 25:52 (5km), 49:19 (10km), 1:13:40 (15km),  1:37:57 (20km), 2:02:07 (25km), 2:26:10 (30km), 2:50:09 (35km), 3:14:19 (40km) and 3:39:27 (45km).

Podebrady in the Czech Republic hosts the European Race Walking Cup on May 21 and that could now become one of Henriques’ next targets, an event where at 20km she won team gold in 2005, team silver in 2013 and team bronze in 2015.

French star Arneton is not 15 until July but what a name she is making for herself.

Showing brilliant speed and control in the runway, Arneton had those watching in Eaubonne captivated as her 6.57m was the best ever indoors for her age group.

And if she maintains this type of performance, she could be breaking records way above her age.

Indoors in the under-18 category, only two athletes have gone further – Estonian Anu Kaljurand, with 6.61m in 1986, and Heike Drechsler – then Heike Daute  – with 6.58m in 1981.

Arneton’s jump was another impressive step in her progress having cleared 6.11m when she was 13 and now so close to that Kaljurand mark.