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Kerry's David Kenny marked his Olympic games debut with a solid top 30 finish in the 20km race-walk this morning.

The Farranfore-Maine Valley athlete crossed the line in 29th place at the Sapporo venue, battling through the savage 32-degree heat. The race had been moved 700km away from Tokyo, to combat the temperatures and humidity in the host city.

Kenny's time of 1:26:54 was five minutes and 49 seconds behind the eventual winner Massimo Stano of Italy, while Koki Ikeda world number one Toshikazo Yamanishi claimed silver and bronze for the hosts Japan.

For 22-year-old Kenny, it marks an exceptional year, after he claimed silver in the same event at the recent u23 European Championships in Tallinn.

The Kerryman is trained by five-time Olympian Rob Heffernan, who had a vested interest with two other competitors in the race. Heffernan also trains the Cork-based Callum Wilkinson who finished 10th overall, as well as South Africa's Wayne Snyman, who finished 20th in this morning's final.

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