Spanish Lopez denies China's 1st gold in Athletics Worlds

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China missed its first ever world championships gold medal in men's 20km race walk on Sunday morning after leading most of the race. Miguel Angel Lopez clinched the first title for Spain.

Spain's Miguel Angel Lopez celebrates winning the men's 20km race walk final at the 2015 IAAF World Athletics Championships in Beijing, capital of China, on Aug. 23, 2015. [Photo/Xinhua]

Lopez, 27, improved his bronze medal from Moscow in 2013 to a gold, clocking one hour 19 minutes 14 seconds, his personal best.

Lopez remained in the leading group and overtook 2012 London Olympic bronze medalist Wang Zhen around one hour 14 minutes. Wang, receiving two warnings, crossed the finish line 15 seconds later. Canadian Benjamin Thorne came third in 1:19.57 to set a national record.

2012 London games champion and Moscow runner-up Chen Ding had a disappointing ninth finish in 1:21.39 while Cai Zelin was fifth in 1:20.42.

Chen said pressure and failure to deliver the strategy caused China losing the title.

"I am relieved now whatever the result is. I have been under much pressure this season and trained very hard," said Chen who just turned 23 on Aug. 5. "We could not deliver our strategy. I had intended to bring our team to a higher speed during the race but failed. So after about 12km or so, I felt I ran out of steam."

Title favorite Yusuke Suzuki of Japan, who smashed the world record at the Asian Championships back in March in 1:16:36, withdrew mid-way in his title run.

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