France's Diniz sets new 20km walk world record

Paris (AFP) - France's Yohann Diniz set a new world record of one hour 17.02 minutes in the 20km walk at the French national championships on Sunday.

Already world record holder in the 50km (3hr 32.33min) since 2014, Diniz bettered the previous 20km best of 1hr 17.16min set in September 2007 by Russia's Vladimir Kanaykin in the Russian city of Saransk.

The 37-year-old Diniz, a three-time European champion over the 50km walk, went into the French championships in the sea-level town of Arles fresh from a high-altitude training camp in Potchefstroom, South Africa.

"Going through 15km in 58 minutes dead, I was told about the world record and I knew I could do it," Diniz told AFP, hailing the cardio and respiratory benefits he reaped while in South Africa.

"We were at 1,400 metres altitude, it was hot and training conditions were ideal."

Diniz will turn his sights later this year on a 20km-50km walk double at the World Athletics Championships in Beijing, where he pulled up in the 50km walk at the 2008 Olympic Games.