Kaniskina leads Russian sweep of European 20-km walk

Barcelona: Olympic and world champion Olga Kaniskina led a Russian sweep of the medals in the women`s 20-km walk at the European championships on Wednesday.

Kaniskina led compatriot Anisya Kirdyapkina by 10 seconds at the halfway mark and continued to pull away from the field to win in a time of one hour, 27 minutes and 44 seconds.

Kirdyapkina, fastest woman in the world this year, was a distant second, one minute and 11 seconds behind. Vera Sokolova was third.

"It feels fantastic to have won the race walk here in Barcelona. I`m also very happy for the girls," said Kaniskina, who burst into tears after crossing the line.

"We trained together very hard and now all climbed the podium."

Spanish hopeful Maria Vasco, Olympic bronze medallist in 2000, was fifth at 10 km but later pulled up limping and clutching her right leg.

The men`s decathlon competition got underway on a hot morning at the Olympic stadium without Czech world record holder and European champion Roman Sebrle, who has a hamstring injury.

Ukraine`s Oleksiy Kasyanov, one of the favourites to succeed Sebrle, got his two-day campaign off to a flying start with a season`s best in the 100 metres of 10.60 seconds for 952 points and the early lead.

The 10-event discipline continues on Wednesday with the long jump, shot put, high jump and 400 metres.

Medals will be decided in the men`s 100 metres (1945) and hammer (1825) and the women`s discus (1630), long jump (1800) and 10,000 (1905).

Bureau Report

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