50km walk to stay in Olympics

By Mitch Phillips
FILE PHOTO: 2016 Rio Olympics - Athletics - Final - Men's 50km Race Walk - Pontal - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 19/08/2016. Athletes compete. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

By Mitch Phillips

LONDON (Reuters) - The 50km walk will remain in the Olympics and world championships after the IAAF voted unanimously to retain the longest event in the athletics programme.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) had put pressure on the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) to drop the event, starting with the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, partly because there is no women's race over the distance.

Women do race over the distance in the world race walking championships, but their longest event at the Olympics is 20km, which was introduced in 2000.

"The IAAF support for the 50km fully comports with the objectives of the IAAF Constitution," American lawyer Paul DeMeester said following the decision by the IAAF's Council in London on Thursday.

"When it comes to the inclusion of women athletes, the IAAF has been miles ahead of the IOC," added DeMeester, in London to support the 50km distance.

"The IAAF recognises world records for women at 50km and is allowing women to participate in the 50km walk at the world championships in London in August."

(Editing by Mark Heinrich)

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