Led by world championship medallist Ben Thorne, Canada snatched second place at the IAAF World Race Walking Team Championships.
Thorne walked the 20-kilometre course in Rome in one hour, 19 minutes and 55 seconds. His time was two seconds faster than what he did in Beijing at the world championships last year, when he won the bronze medal and set a national Canadian record.
Thorne’s time on Saturday put him in fifth place in Rome, just 19 seconds off the men’s podium. Inaki Gomez finished seventh in 1:20:12 and Evan Dunfee was Canada’s third fastest race walker in 1:21:26.
The trio’s combined placing (5, 7, 15) equaled to 27 points, good enough for second best in the team standings behind China, which had walkers in first, second and 13th positions for 16 points.
Zhen Wang (1:19:22) and Zelin Cai (1:19:34) gave China the top two individual spots on the podium, while Alvaro Martin of Spain (1:19:36) was third, edging Dane Bird-Smith of Australia by two seconds.
The silver is an improvement for Canada from two years ago, when in Taicang, China the same team finished in fourth place. This is the first time Canada will stand on the team podium in this event.