News 03.05.2007
Team Plätzer

Success in Sesto San Giovanni

Coppa Città di Sesto San Giovanni is a race walking competition with long tradition. It was the 50th anniversary for the men's race this year and the 28th time they had this race for women. Sesto is known for their strong traditions and as always the women's race started at 10:00 in the morning and the men's race at 16:00 (4pm) in the afternoon. The weather also kept it's tradition, we had good conditions in the morning and the men had difficult conditions in the afternoon.

The two best Chinese 20km walkers from the Challenge race in China in April qualified for the Chinese team for the World Championships in Osaka. The last spot on the team was to be decided in Italy. Therefore six Chinese Women and four Chinese Men were ready to race in Sesto.

My tactic was to wait and see what the Chinese would do, but I was pretty sure that they would start strong. And so they did. The Chinese pushed hard in the first laps inside the Pino Dordoni stadium. Five Chinese women and Ryta Turava took the early lead. The leading pack was formed by Song Hongjuan, Jiang Jing, Liu Hong, Bai Yanmin and Jiang Qiuyan pushed the pace down to 8.30 from two to four km and they increased their lead on Turava by some meters in the first 5 kilometers. They reached the 5 km mark in 21:59. I decided not to follow the strong pace of the Chinese, I started more conservatively and I stayed in the chasing group together with Germany's Melanie Seeger and Sabine Zimmer, Australia’s Jane Saville and Belarus’ Elena Ginko.

The Chinese continued to walk fast, but Turava caught up with the leading group not long after 5km, and as the pack reached 10km in 43:59, four chinese women (Jiang Jing, Song Hongjuan, Jang Qiuyan and Bai Yanmin) still stayed together with Turava. I was focused on walking my own race and being patient. For me this was the hardest part of the race. Between eight and twelve kilometers I was walking all alone, good distance to Sabine Zimmer behind me and the leading group still far ahead of me. I passed 10km in 44:21 and I started to close up with the leaders. I saw that one of the Chinese girls was having trouble with the pace in the leading group and then my "hunt" started :-) I felt good and I was able to keep a good pace.

The front group was reduced to just three women at 14km with three laps to go: Ryta Turava, Song Hongjuan and Jiang Jing. At this point Turava decided to push the pace and she got a solid lead over Song Hongjuan. She passed 15km in 1:05:43. I caught up with Jang Jing to take third position and passed 15km in 1:06:06. Finally just before 18km I passed Song Hongjuan and I was second. Now my focused changed from hunting my competitiors to hunting my Norwegian Record. Thanks to a strong second half (43:20), where I walked the last 5 kilometers in 21:34 I passed the finish line in 1:27:41. Twelve seconds faster then my own Norwegian record from 2000. Turava’s lead was never threatened. She walked the last 5km in 21:27, finishing her 20km in 1:27:10, the fastest time in the world this year.

It was my seventh time in Sesto. Six times I went to the podium and once I did not compete because I was pregnant. For me competing in Sesto is like competing at home, with the crowd shouting my name along the course.

Stephan's tactic for my race paid off and it was rewarded! Now I need rest and focus on my training and technique.

I will write more about the men's race in the hot and humid weather later. For now I just want to say that I was a very proud big sister while watching the men's race in the afternoon. My brother Erik did a very strong tactical race :-) Good job ERIK!!

Results from Sesto San Giovanni:

1. Ryta Turava (Belarus) 1:27:10
2. Kjersti Plätzer (Norway) 1:27:41
3. Song Hongjuan (China) 1:28:25
4. Jang Jing (China) 1:29:45
5. Sabine Zimmer (Germany) 1:30:20
6. Elisa Rigaudo (Italy) 1:30:54
7. Bai Yanmin (China) 1:31:16
8. Ines Henriques (Portugal) 1:31:21
9. Susana Feitor (Portugal) 1:31:40
10. Melanie Seeger (Germany) 1:32:29
1. Erik Tysse (Norway) 1:21:38
2. Luke Adams (Australia) 1:22:18
3.Joao Vieira (Portugal) 1:23:16
4. Mikel Odriozola (Spain) 1.24:19
5. Rolando Saquipay (Equador) 1:24:19
6. Jean Jacques Nkouloukidi (Italy) 1:24:22
7. Jimin Dong (China) 1:24:25
8. Alessandro Gandellini (Italy) 1:24:28
9. Fortunato D’Onofrio (Italy) 1:24:55
10. Wei Yang (China) 1:25:10
IAAF article  

EAA article


©Kjersti Tysse Plätzer