Osaka, Japan:Australia's Nathan Deakes won the 50-kilometer walk in 3 hours, 43 minutes and 53 seconds on Saturday, taking gold in the longest event at the track and field world championships.
The 30-year-old Deakes, world record holder over the distance, finished 29 seconds clear of Frenchman Yohan Diniz, with pre-race favorite Alex Schwazer of Italy a further 16 seconds back in bronze-medal position.
"I guess I will remember for ever the feeling when I came into the stadium and it was clear I'm the champion," said Deakes, who was in tears as he approached the finish. "It was quite emotional.
"It's a great feeling. Records are to be broken, but nobody can take the world championship title away from you."
It was Deakes' first world championship gold medal, and Australia's second of the meet.
Deakes got a bronze at the 2004 Athens Olympics and has twice won the 20- and 50-kilometer double at the Commonwealth Games.
He did not compete in the 20K race here, which was won by Ecuador's Jefferson Perez last weekend. Although he might put both races on his program next year.
"At the Olympics, I want to try the double," he said. "But 50K is always a long way, so we'll see,"
Deakes split from a leading pack at the 35K mark and was never really challenged after that.
Diniz had to be careful in pursuit, with two cautions, to secure France's first medal in Osaka.
"The gold wasn't out of reach, but it wasn't for me today," Diniz said. "Nathan Deakes was too strong. I was strong too, but not at my top technically."
Defending champion Sergey Kirdyapkin was a long way back.
The Russians went 1-2 at Helsinki two years ago and were shaping as contenders to sweep the medals here with a team containing 2005 silver medalist Aleksey Voyevodin, 2004 Olympic silver medalist Denis Nizhegorodov and former world junior champion Vladimir Kanaykin.
Nizhegorodov finished just out of the medals, crossing in 3:46:57 in fourth place.