Chinese duo Wang Zhen and Liu Hong won the men’s and women’s 20km race walk titles at the IAAF World Race Walking Team Championships on Saturday.
Wang, who also won this competition four years ago, had to wait until the final four-kilometre stretch to pull away and gain the ascendancy over his rivals.
Wang bided his time as several walkers tried, and failed, to make a decisive move, before he moved up a gear and claimed a comfortable victory.
He admitted afterwards he was surprised to have won the race.
“I did not think I had the right training to win a medal,” said Wang after the race. “We just thought this was a good chance to test our condition before the Olympics, and it gives me confidence for Rio.”
Wang’s Chinese team-mate Cai Zelin grabbed silver, followed by a bronze for Spain’s Alvaro Martin.
In the women’s race, two-time world champion and world record holder Liu powered to a convincing victory, moving her one step closer to completing the grand slam of major race walking titles.
“I was always in front but I felt a bit nervous because I didn’t know if the others had more energy or if their rhythm could speed up,” said Liu. “I had to keep turning to check them and keep up my speed.”
Second place went to Mexico’s Maria Guadalupe Gonzalez, followed by China’s Olympic silver medallist Qieyang Shenjie in third.