As the sun sets over Rio Maior this Saturday, May 11, the stage is set for a showdown of epic proportions in the world of racewalking. Kimberly Garcia and Erica Sena, two formidable athletes, are gearing up to renew their rivalry at the prestigious Grande Prémio Internacional de Rio Maior, a key event on the World Athletics Race Walking Tour.

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Rewind to last year’s race in Rio Maior, where Garcia, a double world champion, and Sena both faced tough competition from Chinese walkers, ultimately finishing fourth and sixth, respectively. However, this year brings a different dynamic, with the absence of Chinese contenders leveling the playing field for the Peruvian and Brazilian athletes.

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The anticipation is palpable, reminiscent of their electrifying clash in Warsaw at the Korzeniowski Race Walks, where Garcia emerged victorious after a gripping battle with Sena. Both athletes have enjoyed strong starts to 2024, with Garcia bouncing back from an early setback in Dudince to claim victories in the Podebrady leg of the series and the World Athletics Race Walking Team Championships in Antalya.

Sena, despite entering her 39th year, has shown no signs of slowing down, securing her highest global race finish since 2016 with a third-place finish in Antalya. Her resilience and strategic prowess make her a formidable opponent for Garcia once again.

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While Garcia may hold the edge in recent performances, Sena’s experience and tactical acumen could tip the scales in her favor. With the absence of Chinese walkers, other contenders are eager to seize the opportunity to claim a spot on the podium.

Hungary’s Rita Recsei and Spain’s Lucia Redondo are among the challengers aiming to break into the top ranks, showcasing impressive performances in recent races. Meanwhile, the men’s event promises a thrilling battle between Brian Pintado of Ecuador and Peru’s César Rodriguez.

 

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Pintado, the defending champion, seeks redemption after a setback in Antalya, while Rodriguez aims to capitalize on his breakthrough performance in Podebrady. With contenders like Jordy Jiminez from Ecuador and Misgana Fekanska from Ethiopia in the mix, the competition in Rio Maior is fierce.

As athletes prepare to tackle the demanding course in Rio Maior, spectators can expect a display of athleticism, determination, and grit. With seasoned veterans and rising stars all vying for glory, the Grande Prémio Internacional de Rio Maior promises to deliver another chapter of unforgettable race walking action.

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