Above: Quentin Rew on his way to 12th in the 50km race walk in Rio. Photo by Bryn Lennon / Getty Images.
Quentin Rew finished a creditable 12th in the 50km race walk with a time of 3:49:32. His personal best is 3:48:48 from tenth place in last year’s World Championships in Beijing.
The 32 year old from Wellington again went close to Craig Barrett’s 2001 New Zealand record of 3:48:04 and made a massive five minute improvement on his 27th placing at the 2012 London Olympic Games.
Rew who will next race in China next month was generally pleased with his effort.
“Not a perfect race especially after the disappointment of last week I was happy to get through the race and not too far off my PB so overall it was a good race,” he said.
“In the earlier 20km race I was disqualified at 14km for three infringements and today I didn’t get any so I worked really hard on my technique in the last week, every session that I’ve done that’s been the focus and that paid dividends today,” he added.
Rew said his goal going into the race was a better placing.
“I wanted a top eight, but it wasn’t an ideal race, at 35km I dropped off a little bit, there was a group that pushed on from where I was and I wasn’t able to go with them and I slowed to the finish, I didn’t completely blow up so I was still able to pick up a place or two in the last few laps but I was hoping to finish a little bit higher,” said Rew.
Beijing world champion and four time Olympian Matej Tóth of Slovakia won the gold in 3:40:58.
Later Alana Barber finished 35th in the women’s 20km race walk in 1:35:55. Barber holds New Zealand record of 1:32:50 which she set in Melbourne last December.
Barber (29) said it was a really tough race.
“I wanted to get a better placing but I don’t know what else I could have done, I did my best. The last six k’s I started to just go into zombie mode, and I was just one step in front of the other and if someone had directed me off the course I would have gone, and that was the way I was feeling,” said Barber.
“I was feeling really good at 10k and I was picking up people, I was in 35th place at 10k started to pick up more people that were dropping off the second group to the front pack and I was feeling really good because of that and with 6k to go I started to lose it and then the people that I past in that part passed me and so I ended up finishing in 35th place. I wish I did do better but I don’t know what else I could have done,” she added.
Barber’s preparation and training had been perfect leading into her first Olympic Games.
“I spent five weeks in St Moritz at altitude and that helped. I’ve done altitude work before and I’ve really benefited from it. Three weeks coming out of altitude I feel amazing, it’s easy to breath, I feel stronger. So I was training with the Australians and some of the Canadians and it was just a really great environment there and I really benefited from that. So I wanted to do a better time but I felt like my preparation was perfect I just need now to look at why didn’t I get the time that I wanted and why didn’t I get the place that I wanted and revaluate those kind of things.”
Hong Liu of China, the world champion from Beijing last year won in 1:28:35.
Athletics New Zealand Correspondent