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Last Updated: Saturday, 23 August, 2003, 08:58 GMT 09:58 UK
Perez walks to new record
Jefferson Perez of Ecuador celebrates after winning the men's 20 km walk

Jefferson Perez of Ecuador took the first gold medal of the World Championships with a new world record time in the men's 20km walk.

The 29-year-old became the first person to break a world record at the Championships since American legend Michael Johnson in 1999.

Perez came home in one hour 17 minutes 21 seconds, 39 seconds ahead of long-time leader Francisco 'Paquillo' Fernandez of Spain, the previous world record holder.

Fernandez had to settle for silver while Russia's Roman Rasskazov, the defending champion, took the bronze.

Perez, who celebrated his Olympic triumph in 1996 by honouring a religious promise to walk 459 miles back to his hometown, passed Fernandez around the 17th km.

He quickly eased away from the Spaniard, who had attacked from the start and held a sizeable lead.

Perez, a silver medallist at the 1999 Worlds, took his second title this month after victory in the Pan American Games.


20km Walk Result:

1 Jefferson Perez (Ecu) 1:17:21
2 Francisco Javier Fernandez (Spa) 1:18:00
3 Roman Rasskazov (Rus) 1:18:07
4 Noe Hernandez (Mex) 1:18:14
5 Luke Adams (Aus) 1:19:35
6 Ivan Trotskiy (Blr) 1:19:40




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