HYDERABAD, India (Army News Service) -- Army Sgt. John Nunn finished ninth in the men's 20,000-meter racewalk Monday at the Conseil International du Sport Militaire's 4th Military World Games in Hyderabad, India.

China's Zhide Cui won the first track and field event of the Games with a time of 1 hour, 23 minutes, 43 seconds for 50 laps around the track at Gachibowli Main Stadium. Belarus' Ivan Trotski was second in 1:25:23, followed by Slovakia's Matej Toth in 1:25:42.

Sgt. Nunn, 29, a member of the U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program from Evansville, Ind., finished with a time of 1:35:51.

Sgt. Nunn has been training for the longer 50-kilometer racewalking event at the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Trials in February, therefore speed was not his forte on this day.

"I felt OK in the beginning, but my right hamstring just wouldn't loosen up so it slowed me considerably," said Sgt. Nunn, who finished eighth in the 2003 CISM Military World Games. "It was frustrating. My legs have the distance in them, but they just don't have the turnover pace."

In layman's terms, Sgt. Nunn recently needed more quality speedwork to be competitive in the 20K at this level.

"My legs were tired this morning, but I understand the reason for my performance today was based on the big picture, which is the 50K coming up in February," said Sgt. Nunn, a 2004 Olympian with a personal-best time of 1:22:31 for the 20K. "Third place was a 1:25-and-change and I'm incredibly capable of hitting that on a decent day. A bad day in the past has been like a 1:27 or a 1:26, and that would've placed me probably in fifth or sixth, which would've been reasonable."

Italy's Lorenzo Civallero finished fourth in 1:26:44.

"Right now, I feel that I'm a little bit better of a 50K walker than a 20K, but I don't see any reason why I can't finish in the top three at the Olympic Trials at both distances," said Sgt. Nunn, whose 50K personal best is 4:14:00.

Nunn expects to compete for Team USA in either or both events at the 2008 Olympics. This day, he realizes, was merely a bump in the long, rugged road to Beijing, China -- a day in which he stumbled more ways than one.

"I don't even know what lap it was, but I got too close to the railing and my foot grabbed one of the metal clips holding it down on the track," he explained. "It threw me and I fell into the infield and it ripped my back number off. I scraped my arm and my hip, but I just popped right back up. I was just like: 'You've got to be kidding me.' It stung."

(Tim Hipps writes for FMWRC Public Affairs)

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16