Disappointment for Rob Heffernan as he comes up short of a medal despite strong 50km walk performance
Rob Heffernan's hopes of a second Olympic medal were dashed in Rio this afternoon as he could only manage a sixth place finish despite a commendable race in the 50km walk.
The Cork athlete, who was promoted to bronze in the London 2012 event after Russian Sergey Kirdyapkin was stripped of gold following a positive drugs test, was in a bunch of competitors just off the lead in the race's early stages as Frenchman Yohann Diniz pulled away.
However, the Frenchman then was forced to stop for a short break before collapsing shortly afterwards. Thankfully, he eventually returned to the race but finished out of medal contention.
Heffernan rose as high as fourth but as the race wore on the Irishman slipped back to sixth.
With 5km to go, Heffernan was a minute off the bronze medal position and unfortunately for Irish fans, he couldn't make up the difference.
The race was won by Slovakia's Matej Toth, with Australia's Jared Tallent in second and Japan's Hirooki Arai in third. Arai was initially disqualified at the finish after making contact with Canadian Evan Dunfee during the race, but he was reinstated into third on appeal.
Heffernan gave a good account of himself as he crossed the line in sixth position, 2.31 behind the bronze medalist.
Irishman Brendan Boyce also had a brilliant race, finishing in 19th.