Nathan Deakes - Restores Faith
Aussie Walker Restores Faith
The Australian men made up for the immense disappointment of walker Jane Saville’s disqualification when Nathan Deakes improved his personal best in the 50km road walk by 6secs to finish sixth yesterday.

Australia’s best walker, Geelong’s Nathan Deakes stayed at the head of the 56-strong pack for the length of the race, moving from ninth at the 5km mark through to third place by the 40km mark.

His impressive performance finishing in 3hr:47min.29sec, was in stark contrast to the anguish experienced by Saville, 25, when she was disqualified just 120m from the finish of the 20km walk and a gold medal.

Deakes, 23, one of Saville’s best friends who trains with her in Canberra, was ecstatic with his performance.

“I’m just over the moon,” he said. “I knew I was in good shape and this is just a bonus race.”

“This is my first Olympics and I’ve had two top-eight finishes and I’m very, very happy.”

He finished eighth in the 20km walk.

Dion Russell, of Melbourne, joint 50km national champion with Deakes finished in 27th place. He had to be carried from the field after suffering sever cramps in both hamstrings.

The third Australian in the race, 27-year-old Duane Cousins, of Bendigo, finished 34th.

Poland’s Robert Korzeniowski claimed gold in 3hrs:42min.22sec, with Latvia’s Aigars Fadejevs taking silver and Mexico’s Joel Sanchez Guerrero the bronze.

Saville yesterday vowed to walk on until at least 2004 and said she might modify her technique.

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