Yohann Diniz of France set a world record in the 50-kilometer walk at the European Athletics Championships on Friday, smashing the previous best time by well over a minute.
Walking the early part of the race through driving rain, the defending champion finished in 3 hours, 32 minutes, 33 seconds. He broke the record of 3:34.14, set in 2008 by Russia’s Denis Nizhegordov.
The ecstatic 36-year-old Diniz even had time to stop for a few seconds to collect a Portuguese flag from a fan and also waved a French flag as he crossed the finishing line in Zurich for his third successive European title.
Slovakia’s Matej Toth finished second, more than three minutes behind Diniz. Ivan Noskov of Russia took bronze.
Diniz’s compatriot Mahiedine Mekhissi qualified for Sunday’s 1,500-meter final, a day after he was stripped of his steeplechase gold for taking his shirt off in celebration before crossing the finish line.
Diniz's previous best time and the French record dated back to 2009 at Dudince, Slovakia when he clocked 3:38:45.
France currently sit second in the medal table in this year’s championships with three gold medals, just behind Great Britain, which has four.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP)
Date created : 2014-08-15