Yamanishi repeats as world champion in men’s 20K walk

Pool photo / The Yomiuri Shimbun
Toshikazu Yamanishi leads at the start of the men’s 20-kilometer race walk on Friday at the World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Ore.

EUGENE, Ore. — Toshikazu Yamanishi won the men’s 20-kilometer race walk on the opening day of the World Athletics Championships on Friday in Eugene, Ore., making him the first Japanese in history to repeat as a world or Olympic champion in the sport.

Yamanishi clocked 1 hour 19 minutes 7 seconds to add to the gold he won three years ago in Doha and finish seven seconds ahead of Olympic silver medalist and compatriot Koki Ikeda — giving Japan its first-ever 1-2 finish at the World Athletics Championships.

“I’m really proud of myself,” said Yamanishi, who was coming off a disappointing third-place finish at the Tokyo Olympics.

Yamanishi and Ikeda were among the lead pack from the start and broke away from their closest competitors before the 18-kilometer mark. The 26-year-old Yamanishi pulled away in the final kilometer to take the gold.

“I wanted to dictate how the race evolved,” Yamanishi said.