Sports Enthusiast Helps Out in Russia
Posted by Nicki | May 25, 2012
Norwich sports enthusiast Hannah Palmer has just returned from Saransk, Russia, where she helped out at the World Race Walking Cup.
Here she shares her experiences with Gear-Zone.
“The event was held on the 12th and 13th May. Because of all the setting up and the testing you have to do, I was in Saransk for a week.
This is a pretty good venue to have the World Race Walking Cup because Russia have all the top walkers for men and women, and is one event the country aims to do well in and promote as much as possible.
My journey started early on Tuesday, 8th May. I flew out of Norwich airport onto Schipol, Amsterdam. Then a change of flight to Moscow, and once we arrived we were taken straight to the train station.
The train we were about to catch was an overnight train heading for Saransk. This was a new experience for everyone. The cabins had two people in, and had two beds, TV, table and a good view of the countryside from our window - they were very comfortable but loud and bumpy, and no one slept at all. We arrived in Saransk at 7am.
The sun was shining and we got taken straight to our hotel. We had three hours to freshen up before we headed down to the course.
The course was mostly marked out already with rails. Because it is a walking event, it was held out on the streets of Saransk, so the whole course would only be cornered off the day before the race.
This was a slight problem because we had to set cables running down the course to calculate the timing correctly at eight different points. Everything was mainly done the day before, when all the checking of the systems was done and running accurately. This is what takes the time because it needs to be 100%.
The World Race Walking Cup course has a traditional 2km loop circuit. The rules on race walking are that the walker’s front foot must be on the ground when the rear foot is raised. Also, the front leg must straighten when it makes contact with the ground. If this is not followed then warning cards will be raised...three red cards from three different judges results in a competitor’s disqualification.
The men's 50k walking event is the longest on the IAAF World Championships and Olympic timetable, so concentration from the start is paramount and you must have great strength and ultra-endurance.
The Junior men 10k, Junior women 10k and the Senior men 20k were held on12th May, and the following day the women's 20k and the men's 50k race walk took place.
My job was the same as when I was in Deagu, South Korea, during last year’s World Athletic Championships.
My role is on the transponder team, which means I get to meet all the athletes to hand out the named bibs which are pinned on the front of their tops.
Calculating the Time
A chip on the back of the bib calculates what time and what lap they are on, and this information gets sent to the main control room.
Judges are located across the course, checking entrants are walking correctly. If three red cards are issued, the bib number is radio-ed through to the main control room so we can update our records on who has been disqualified.
In the event of a disqualification or someone dropping out, we need to keep an eye on them out on the course in order to collect their chip. This is the last part of my job during the race - in the two days of events, there were over 400 athletes walking - and we managed to collect all the chips except three, which was a terrific result.
The event went smoothly without any major problems, even though it was too hot for the athletes to be walking on both the Saturday and the Sunday. Those two days were the hottest of the week, reaching 30 degrees.
Overall, it was a good event, and Russia will be wanting the same for next year for the World Championships to be held in Moscow.
Russia was a nice country and I’m looking forward to Moscow next year - if I get invited! ”
Here at Gear-Zone we have everything for the sports enthusiast, whether you’re a professional or amateur athlete and prefer running to walking, cricket to rugby, or football to swimming.
From Adidas to Zoggs, we have the A to Z in sportswear, with the biggest names including Nike, Asics, Speedo, Canterbury, Babolat, Kookaburra and Puma.
Whether you’re out to give your very best on the track or on the trail, on the pitch or in the pool, Gear-Zone has the very latest in clothing and footwear for your chosen discipline.