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Ireland's Brendan Boyce produced a career-best finish in his third Olympic Games, crossing for a 10th place finish in this morning's 50km race walk.

The Letterkenny native dug deep in the final kilometers, climbing two places to secure his top 10 finish in a time of 3:53:40, three minutes and 32 seconds back from the winner; Poland's Dawid Tomala.

Boyce's fellow Irishman Alex Wright was 29th overall, 16:09 back from the gold medal winner.

The race - which was taking place in Sapporo rather than the host city of Tokyo in order to combat the heat - had a 5:30am local start, as searing heat made conditions difficult.

And Donegal's Boyce strengthened as the race developed, improving on his 29th and 19th place finishes in 2012 and 2016 respectively, to cross the line in 10th place.

Speaking to RTE following the race, the 34-year-old Boyce said he was pleased with how he dug in with such tough conditions.

"It was a battle in the last few kilometres but I hung in," he said

"I was in the elite group until 35K but the way the race panned out meant I wasn't going to get a medal - still it was great to come away with a top 10.

"I made up two spots in the last two or three laps - I wasn't giving up hope - a few guys ahead of me were struggling as well and I managed to pip a Polish lad to get the top 10."

It's likely to be the final staging of the 50km walk in the Olympic Games, with the race set to be scrapped for Paris 2023, and Boyce says it will be a big loss to the Irish in particular.

"It's devastating to be honest. If you look back at the careers of 50km walkers it's a long-term goal to win a medal. Rob (Heffernan) won his medal at his fourth Olympics. This is my third Olympics so I was hoping to go on and do one more. To have an opportunity taken way and a career ended by a political decision is tough to take," he added.

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