Frenchman Diniz sets world record in 20-kilometer race walk

ARLES, France (AP) European champion Yohann Diniz set a world record in the 20-kilometer race walk at the French championships on Sunday.

The 37-year-old Diniz clocked a time of 1 hour, 17 minutes, 2 seconds – beating the previous mark by 14 seconds.

Diniz’s latest exploit comes nine months after he broke the 50-kilometer world record at last year’s Euros in Zurich.

He said he had not planned to attack the world record. But having recently returned from a training stint in South Africa, he felt in better form than expected and started strongly on the first of the 16 laps.

”After five kilometers, I was much quicker than I had planned. My coach just told me to stay in my bubble and continue to stay clean technically,” Diniz said. ”It felt like I was flying. I’m super happy and excited. I might be the best race walker in the world today, but I have to reach the podium at the world championships and Olympics.”

He went through the 15K mark in 58:00, just off world-record pace, and then sped up to cover the last 5-kilometer section in a little more than 19 minutes.

Russian Sergey Morozov clocked 1:16:43 in 2008. Although it is the fastest performance in history over 20K, it could not be ratified as a record because it did not fulfil the criteria of having three international judges present.