Track and Field

Evan Dunfee says ditching 50km race walk not the solution to promoting athletics

Canadian Evan Dunfee, who won a bronze medal Saturday in the men's 50-kilometre race walk at the track and field world championships, says the International Association of Athletics Federations is missing out on the event's potential.

World bronze medallist believes event 'could be so big' with tiny bit of effort

Canadian race walker Evan Dunfee, who won a bronze medal on Saturday at the track and field world championships, is "really disappointed" at the IAAF's plan to ditch the 50 km race walk starting in 2022. (Yifan Ding/Getty Images for IAAF/File)

Two of the world championship medallists in the 50-kilometre race walk have criticized plans by the sport's governing body to get rid of the event from 2022 onwards.

Canadian Evan Dunfee, bronze medallist in the race held in the early hours of Sunday morning, said the International Association of Athletics Federations was missing out on its potential.

"I love this event, this event is so special and I am really disappointed they are getting rid of it because I think this event could be so big," he told reporters after the race.

"There are so many opportunities in the 50k to promote track and field … not just race walking. You can throw a festival out there, you can put a stage and you have live music, you have kids' events and you teach kids about track and field, you bring in new fans."

"There's a whole market we can get, if we just put in a tiny bit of effort we could attract that fan base and promote track and field and active living," he added. That's the solution — the solution isn't getting rid of the event."

WATCH | Evan Dunfee captures bronze medal at worlds:

Evan Dunfee wins bronze in men's 50km race walk at track and field worlds

2 years ago
Duration 0:37
The Richmond, B.C., native turned it up a notch in the back half of the men's 50km race walk, capturing a bronze medal after a time of 4:05:02. 0:37

Silver medallist Joao Vieira of Portugal was also upset. "It's bad, very bad," the 43-year-old told Reuters after becoming the oldest man to win a medal at any event in world championship history.

The IAAF's race walking committee recommended in February that the 20k and 50k events should be replaced with 10k and 30k respectively, with the 2023 world championships in Budapest the first major event to be affected.

WATCH | The full men's and women's race walk:

50 Kilometres Race Walk: Women's and Men's

2 years ago
Duration 5:16:26
50 kilometres race walk from the track and field world championships in Doha, Qatar. 5:16:26

The decision-making IAAF Council agreed with the recommendation "in principle" the following month, although it suggested a choice of two out of 10k, 20k, 30k or 35k.

CBC Sports has exclusive live coverage of the 2019 World Track & Field Championships from Sept. 27-Oct. 6. Visit the stream and broadcast schedule, You can also add the complete event schedule to your calendar.

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