Ireland’s disappointing campaign at the World Athletics Championships drew to a close earlier than planned on Sunday with Alex Wright suffering disqualification in the men’s 20k walk, writes Will Downing in London.
Wright was trying to get back up with the main leading bunch after having to replace his shoe, when clipped 4km into the race.
The Leevale AC athlete made a big move at 8km to bridge the short gap from 19th place, twenty seconds down on the leaders, but was carded three times in quick succession for lifting – losing contact with the ground – and was sent off the course with eleven kilometres raced.
Gold went to former world junior champion Eidar Arevalo of Colombia, who had not previously won a global senior Championship medal.
He was victorious in a sprint finish with neutral Russian athlete Sergei Shirobokov in 1 hour 18 minutes 53 seconds, with Brazil’s Caio Bonfim in third.
Wright relayed afterwards: “At 4k, someone clipped the back of my shoe and it fell off.
“I had to stop and put it back on, then for the next few kilometres, I was chasing down the group again.
“It just threw me a bit and I ended up having to chase. At 8k, I was still chasing and then the cautions started coming in.
“When you’re giving the perception to the judges that you’re falling off the group, it doesn’t look good.
“I picked up three cards and I was gone. After my shoe came off, they all came through after that.
“I was up there in the lead group, but then fell back.”
Earlier, Rob Heffernan brought the curtain down on a glittering career when the 2013 world champion came home eighth in the 50k walk, eleven minutes down on runaway winner Yohann Diniz, who won by an eight-minute margin in a new Championship record of 3 hours 33 minutes 12 seconds.
Heffernan’s placing was the best achieved by Ireland’s team of twelve in London – however only eight of these were able to start and finish their respective competitions, due to injury, illness and disqualification.
Among the final night highlights of the sold-out closing session will be the men’s 1500m and high jump finals, the women’s 800m, and both 4x400m relays.