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Canadian race walker Evan Dunfee wins gold at Commonwealth Games with record-setting performance

Canada’s Evan Dunfee collected the men’s 10-kilometre race walk with a record-setting performance on Sunday for the country’s 23rd gold medal of the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England.

The 31-year-old from Richmond, B.C., finished the race in a Games record time of 38 minutes 36.37 seconds while also breaking his own Canadian record and setting a new personal best.

It was 3.35 seconds faster than his previous national record of 38:39.72 set in June 2021 at the Harry Jerome Track Classic.

Dunfee fell behind at the halfway point, but he moved up from fifth place and took the lead in the closing stages. It’s his first Commonwealth Games medal in his third appearance. 

“To believe in myself today as much as my friends and family back home believed in me. That was the goal for today, to just come in here and have that same belief as everyone else has in me, and back myself, and that’s what I did and I’m thrilled,” Dunfee stated.

Australia’s Declan Tingay won silver with a personal best time of 38:42.33, while India’s Sandeep Kumar also set a personal best to claim bronze (38:49.21).

Sunday’s race was a huge change for Dunfee, as it was held on the track in Alexander Stadium.

“That was amazing, to come out here, be in the stadium, we’ve never experienced anything like this as race walkers,” he said.

Dunfee’s triumph comes after a tough season that saw him struggle with a nagging hamstring injury and lack of motivation largely around the elimination of the 50km event, in which he won bronze at both last summer’s Tokyo Olympics and the 2019 world championships.

Dunfee had lobbied fiercely to keep the event, but it was eventually scrapped from the world and Olympic programs.

Dunfee finished sixth in the 35km race at the World Athletics Championships last month in Eugene, Ore. He also holds the Canadian record in the 50km event.

Canada has won 23 gold, 31 silver and 34 bronze for a total of 88 medals at the 2022 Commonwealth Games, which has them third in the standings. The Games end on Monday.

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