China’s Liu Hong on Saturday set a new world record for the women’s 50km race walk, becoming the first woman to complete the event in under four hours.
The Olympic gold medallist completed the Chinese Race Walk Grand Prix in the eastern city of Huangshan in just 3hr 59min 15 sec, the International Association of Athletics Federations said.
She shaved more than five minutes off the previous record set by compatriot Liang Rui.
It is the first 50km outing for the 31-year-old, who has just returned from two years of maternity leave in 2019, the official Xinhua news agency reported.
A two-time World Championships winner, she also holds the women’s 20km world record of 1hr 24min 38sec set in Spain’s La Coruna in 2015.
Liu pipped Mexico’s Maria Gonzalez by just two seconds to win the Olympic women’s 20km race walk in a nail-biting finish in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.
Chinese athletes dominated Saturday’s Huangshan race, with Li Maocuo shaving 11 minutes off her personal best to finish second at 4hr 3min 51sec and Ma Faying coming in third at 4hr 7min 30sec.