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Chen Ding (C) and Zhen Wang (L) of China and Erick Barraondo Guatemala lead during the Race Walk Athletics on Day 8 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on August 4, 2012 in London, England. Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images
Chen walks off with gold for China

28 Oct 2012
In the last of our series of 20 OCA Award winners for outstanding achievement at the London Olympics, we turn the spotlight on China’s golden race walker Chen Ding. Talk about a birthday to celebrate! That was the case of Chen Ding, who won the men’s 20km race walk on Saturday, August 4 – one day before his 20th birthday. "It is a wonderful gift for my birthday," said Chen, who clocked one hour, 18 minutes and 46 seconds to set a new Olympic record along The Mall.

It was the first Olympic gold medal won by a Chinese male walker and only the second Olympic gold won by a Chinese male track and field athlete following Liu Xiang’s 110m hurdles victory at Athens 2004. "I do not think I will emerge as a superstar like Liu Xiang," said Chen. "Before I won the gold medal I was just an ordinary athlete.

And if I want to achieve more I need to remain ordinary and keep a low profile." Chen had the gold medal in the bag long before the finish and shared his joy with the spectators along the route. "My coach told me just to stay in touch with the leaders in the first part of the race and to save my strength.

Between 12 and 16km I started to change my speed and successfully set up the advantage," said Chen. "The last kilometers were easy for me as once I got the advantage I was feeling more and more relaxed and comfortable. And my speed became faster so I did not need to worry about being overtaken.”
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