DAEGU, South Korea – Maria Michta represented Team USA in the women’s 20 kilometer race walk during the only final contested on the fifth day of the World Championships through the streets of downtown Daegu.
Michta (Nesconset, N.Y.) finished in 1:38:54 crossing the line in 30th place. The athletes faced hot and sunny conditions, only made worse by the 88 percent humidity as the race started.
Michta went out conservatively as she walked through the 5 km mark in 47th place in 24:18. By the half-way mark, Michta passed five competitors and split 48:48. Michta continued to reel in one competitor after another, and by the 15 km mark she advanced to 35th place in 1:13:43. Over the final 5 km, Michta strived to pass a pair of Colombian athletes, and she was successful in passing them with only 1 km to go.
This was the first World Championship appearance for the 25-year-old race walker who is the two-time defending U.S. Champion both indoors and out.
Maria Michta, women's 20 km race walk
“The race went out very slow, and I was conservative, so I was in the back of the pack. I went out in about 4:58-4:59 (per kilometer), then I hit 4:50, and I kind of was in the back, but it was great to have that Swiss girl there. I would go a little bit, then she would go, then I would go and get the next group. I feel like for 8 K we didn’t battle, but we pulled each other along. That was really great.
“Then I just kept looking ahead to the girls and being like ‘go catch that one, go catch that one.’ Then end the end there were those Columbian girls and in my head I was like for Pan-Am games, these are the girls I am going to see again. I thought ‘you want that girl for a medal’ and on the last lap I just had to get that Colombian girl, and I got here a little before the 19 K.
Team USA will try to add to its medal count on Thursday when U.S. athletes compete in finals in four events: men's high jump, women's 1500m, men's and women's 400m hurdles.
Two-time Olympic gold medalist Angelo Taylor (Decatur, Ga.) and 2008 Olympic bronze medalist Bershawn Jackson (Raleigh, N.C.) headline the men’s 400m hurdles field.
Two-time World Outdoor silver medalist LaShinda Demus (Palmdale, Calif.) moved a step closer in her quest for a gold medal in the women’s 400m hurdles by posting the fastest qualifying time in the semifinal round Tuesday.
The Thursday morning session features qualifying in the four field events: men's shot put, women's javelin, women's high jump, men's long jump.
On the track preliminary heats will be contested in the men's 5,000, women's 200, women's 800 and the men's 4x400m relay.
Team USA Medal Breakdown through Aug. 31:
Gold Medals - 4
Women's long jump - Brittney Reese
Decathlon - Trey Hardee
Women's 100m-- Carmelita Jeter
Men's 110m hurdles -- Jason Richardson
Silver Medals - 4
Decathlon - Ashton Eaton
Men's 100 -- Walter Dix
Women's 400m -- Allyson Felix
Men's 400m -- LaShawn Merritt
Bronze Medals - 1
Women's shot put - Jillian Camarena-Williams
For complete results, visit www.iaaf.org