7th March 2019

Press release from SaveTheRaceWalking

Numerous racewalkers from all over the world are protesting against the crazy choice of the IAAF Race Walking Committee to delete the races of 20 and 50km, replacing them with the distances of 10km and 30km, which we consider a useless and ridiculous solution. These proposals will be voted at the next IAAF Council meeting, which will take place on March 10-11 in Doha.

The protest has been launched on Facebook and on the official website. On these two reference points, you will find the faces and motivations of the protest. To the absurd proposals by Maurizio Damilano [Chairman of the IAAF Racewalking Committee] which risk condemning our discipline to death, we are responding by independently building a worldwide project to promote racewalking (the Phoenix Project), which his committee has not managed in 20 years.

What many racewalkers, coaches and racewalking lovers all over the world want is simple:

  1. Keep the current 20km / 50km as the international racewalking distances until after the 2024 Olympics.
  2. Use this extended timeframe to properly test the new shoe insert technology (electronic control of loss of contact).
  3. Work to enhance the current 20km / 50km events to make them more attractive to the general viewing public and develop promotion project worldwide (see the Phoenix Project).
  4. Visit this issue (if it still exists) again in 2024 once the shoe insert technology has been deemed to work (or not!).

The slogan of the protest is as follows: #SAVETHERACEWALKING  – WE WANT RACEWALKING 20km & 50km

Racewalkers (men and women), former racewalkers, fans, coaches, champions of the past and present, young athletes and racewalking kids, have been taking pictures with their arms crossed, left hand open, right hand closed, to represent the number 50, like the 50km race that represents the true essence of our discipline. By taking the picture, they became part of a protest involving champions from all over the world like Yohann Diniz (FRA), Jared Tallent, Claire Tallent (AUS), Ines Henriquez (POR), Alana Barber (NZL), Matej Toth (SVK), Mariela Sanchez (MEX), Perseus Karlstrom (SWE) and many others, even former racewalking champions that you can find in photos on savetheracewalking.org.

With the gesture of the 50km protests, many racewalkers from Italy have also confirmed that compatriots of Maurizio Damilano do not like his proposals. Recently, the President of the Italian Athletics Federation (FIDAL), Alfio Giomi, said he was totally against these proposals. We urge the press and the media to give visibility to our protest.

Finally we conducted a survey ‘How to save the race walking’ about the IAAF Race Walking Committee proposals that are scheduled to be approved. The results are available by clicking here. Details by country will follow. The survey illustrates that Maurizio Damilano and his committee do not represent the views of the world’s racewalkers. For this reason, we believe that they are guilty of an abuse of power against the heart of our discipline.

For more information, email: info@savetheracewalking.org

• This media release was sent via email on 7 March 2019. It has been carefully edited to correct some typographical errors.

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