UKF graduate Matej Tóth Olympic champion
After the last year's world champion title, Slovak race walker Matej Tóth achieved another outstanding success. In the extremely strong competition to walk 50 kilometers to Ponta beach he triumphed in a time of 3:40:58 hours with 18-second lead over Jared Tallent, an Australian defending gold from London. Matej won gold medal in the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, the first Olympic medal in athletics in the era of the Slovak independence.
The 33-year race walker from VŠC Dukla Banská Bystrica ascended the leading position less than three kilometers before the finish, and managed to take his escape to a successful end. The bronze medal goes to Canada, thanks to Evan Dunfee (+0: 40). Originally third, the Japanese racer Hirooki Araia was disqualified after he rammed into Dunfee while revolving and Dunfee completely lost the rhythm.
Tóth confirmed his position among the favorites and added to his last year's world champion title another precious medal from the Olympic Games. Along with the silver medal won by water slalom racer Matej Beňuš in C1, and a gold medal by double canoe men Ladislav and Peter Škantár, Matej Tóth won in Rio the third medal for Slovakia.
"I'm glad I was able to enjoy the race and that the finish wasn’t completely devastating. Although it started to be really hard on me toward the end, it was beautiful and I enjoyed the final hundred meters," said Toth.
Another Slovak representative Dušan Majdán ranked the 26th position in his personal maximum time (3:58:25) loosing 17:27 minutes toward his winning compatriot. Martin Tišťan hasn´t succeeded in his premiere race under the five rings as he was disqualified before the tenth kilometer and received all three red cards for a bent knee.
The great success of Matej is also celebrated by his coach, PaedDr. Matej Spišiak, a doctoral student at the Department of Physical Education and Sport, Faculty of Education of Constantine the Philosopher University in Nitra. No wonder his ward Matej Tóth won Olympic gold right after the last year's world champion title awarded in Beijing, the first Slovak athletic medal in the era of the Slovak independence. Within the three year period Matej Spišiak was able to bring their cooperation to an absolute peak - to the win of Olympic gold in 50 km race walk in Rio. Coach Spišiak has brought a new impetus to sport training, new insights into coaching and the things that his ward led the medal for the past three years.
The mission is fulfilled, reports Matej Spišiak (38): "From the beginning we have agreed to solve all things together, communicate a lot and deal with the details. At that time, Matej Tóth was already a great walker; he just used to fail in timing the form for the top events. We analyzed the possibilities for his improvement. Of course, there was, is, and as I believe there will be a continuing chemistry between us. We created a team of top professionals willing to give 120% of their performance for us. After four years of work I am keen to take the normal vacation. I go to Sicily, turn off the phone, and do not take my computer. I'm going to ride a bike, enjoy good coffee and swim in the sea. Then, full of energy, I get back to study."
Constantine the Philosopher University in Nitra joins the congratulations and wishes a lot of sport and personal achievements. Matej Toth, who is a graduate student in the field of journalism at Faculty of Arts, visited our university in November 2015. You can find a short article and photo gallery of that meeting.