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Lashmanova takes Rio Maior title
Russia's London 2012 Olympic Games 20km walk champion Yelena Lashmanova fulfilled her role as the favourite for the European Athletics Race Walking Permit Meeting in Rio Maior, Portugal, and triumphed in 1:28:19 on Saturday afternoon.
However, the 22nd Grande Prémio Internacional de Rio Maior em Marcha Atlética also saw the slowest time of Lashmanova's career over the distance, although it has to be said that she is only in her second year as a senior and her Portuguese outing was only the fifth time she has raced over the distance, at which she holds the world record with 1:25:02.
Lashmanova, who turns just 21 on Tuesday, was part of a pack that stayed together through the first half of the race before she edged away in the second 10km.
However, Guatemala's Mirna Ortiz never lost sight of her and improved her own North, Central American and Caribbean record to 1.28.31 when finishing second.
Portuguese women filled the two places behind the leading pair the 2013 he national champion and Portuguese record holder Ana Cabecinha taking third place from her compatriot, and Rio Maior native, Inês Henriques; the pair timed in 1:29:21 and 1:29:56 to complete the quartet of finishers in under one-and-a-half hours.
Spain's 2012 Rio Maior winner Beatriz Pascual, having her first race of the year, could only finish sixth in 1:31:49.
The next of the four 2013 European Athletics Race Walking Permit Meetings will be in the Czech spa town of Podebrady next Saturday, on 13 April.