Jesus Angel Garcia will be the official ambassador for the World Athletics Race Walking Team Championships Muscat 22, where some 350 athletes from 46 countries will compete on 4-5 March.
The legendary Spanish athlete is one of the most prolific competitors in international race walking events. He made a record 13 appearances at the World Race Walking Team Championships, winning in 1997, as well as a record 13 appearances at the World Athletics Championships, winning the 50km title in 1993.
Last year he made history when making a record eighth appearance at an Olympic Games. 29 years after his Olympic debut in 1992, when he finished 10th, Garcia placed 35th over 50km in Sapporo at the age of 51.
He hung up his race-walking shoes at the end of last year, but is looking forward to being a part of this year’s World Race Walking Team Championships in his role as ambassador.
“Race walking is my whole life, because it has allowed me to dedicate myself to my passion for many years, to build a family and to meet wonderful people, as well as to travel to beautiful places that I would have been unlikely to visit if I had not chosen this discipline,” said Garcia, who placed ninth at the 2019 World Championships, just three weeks shy of his 50th birthday.
“The fact that I can go to Oman as a representative of the athletes, the race walkers, is a great source of pride for me,” he added. “I feel a great responsibility to give back to race walking what it has given to me and to contribute to making this event known in more countries. I am proud to bring my experience to strengthen the place of the 35km race walk in this new sporting stage that starts with the World Athletics Team Championships Muscat 22 and continues with the individual events at the World athletics Championships in Oregon.”
Garcia will be in attendance not just for the competition sessions in Muscat, but also for several World Athletics Sustainability initiatives that will be held in conjunction withthe event, including a beach clean-up and tree-planting. Race walking is one of the world’s most sustainable sports disciplines, requiring no special equipment or external energy to participate.
Final entries published
More than 350 athletes from 46 teams will compete at the World Athletics Race Walking Team Championships Muscat 22 on 4-5 March.
Many stars of the event feature among the entry lists. Defending 20km champion Koki Ikeda and world champion Toshikazu Yamanishi – the Olympic silver and bronze medallists respectively – will represent Japan in the men’s 20km.
Colombia’s Eider Arevalo and Spain’s Miguel Angel Lopez, the world 20km champions in 2017 and 2015 respectively, are also entered. Arevalo will line up for the 20km, while Lopez is moving up in distance and will compete in the 35km – a distance that will make its championship debut in Muscat as a prelude to its introduction at the World Athletics Championships Oregon 22 in July.
Sweden’s world 20km bronze medallist Perseus Karlstrom, meanwhile, is one of a small handful of athletes entered for both the 20km and 35km.
Japanese 50km record-holder Masatora Kawano and Hayato Katsuki, the runner-up over 50km at the 2018 World Race Walking Team Championships, will be among the leading contenders in the men’s 35km.
World and Olympic bronze medallist Evan Dunfee also contests the longer event, as does Germany’s Olympic silver medallist Jonathan Hilbert.
The three podium finishers from the U20 women’s 10km at the 2018 edition will feature in the senior women’s 20km event in Muscat. Mexico’s Alegna Gonzalez, Ecuador’s Glenda Morejon and Japan’s Nanako Fujii have already made an impact on the event as seniors, with top-10 finishes at recent global championships.
China’s 2017 world champion Yang Jiayu also returns to the event, looking to improve on her third-place finish from 2018.
The women’s 35km line-up includes Portugal’s 2017 world 50km champion Ines Henriques, world 50km silver medallist Li Maocuo of China and compatriot Wu Quanming, the Asian record-holder.
For the first time ever at the World Race Walking Team Championships, the event will incorporate the World Masters Race Walk Cup, which includes age group races over 10km and a mixed 4x2km relay.