Spaniard Fernandez sets world record in 10km walk

2008-07-28 00:54:23 GMT       2008-07-28 08:54:23 (Beijing Time)       Xinhua English

MADRID, July 27 (Xinhua) -- Spanish walker Paquillo Fernandez gave himself the perfect send-off for the Olympic Games on Sunday when he smashed the world 10km race walk record.

Racing in the Spanish Championships, held on the island of Tenerife, Fernandez, the silver medal winner in Athens four years ago, took five seconds off the previous record, which had been held by the Italian Ivano Brugnetti, as he clocked a time of 37:53:09 for the event.

Interestingly, Brugnetti is the reigning Olympic champion, having beaten Fernandez in the 20km walk in the 2004 Athens Games.

After the race Fernandez confessed he was amazed at the achievement, above all because the race took place at 17.00 hrs, almost the hottest hour of the day.

"I am really surprised because all of the elements were against me setting a good time: the heat and the time of the race," he told the official website of the Spanish Athletics Federation.

"Nevertheless my will to win was vital and I gave it everything. I went as fast as possible in the last 400 meters, even though I never knew I was in with a chance of setting a world record," he said, looking ahead to the Olympic challenge.

"After this race, it is obvious that I am in form and going to aim for a medal in Beijing, although I will find some very difficult rivals there. I am going to travel to Matsue (Japan) on August 3 to finish my preparation and from there, I will go to Beijing," said Fernandez, who must be considered favorite for a gold medal at the Games.

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