Walker collapses after 50km of heat, smog and humidity

Indonesia's Hendro said it was a "miracle" to even finish the 50km race walk in Jakarta's brutal pollution, heat and humidity yesterday after he was carried from the finish line on a stretcher.

Hendro collapsed after pounding the smoggy streets for more than 41/2 hours in 31-deg C heat to finish last, in the Asian Games' slowest 50km walk for nearly three decades.

The air quality index in central Jakarta hit 163 yesterday morning. A reading of more than 150 is considered a health threat.

After being doused in ice water by medics, Hendro, 28, was carried to the medical centre shouting incoherently.

"The race was so difficult - the hot weather, humidity, and not just the humidity but the pollution," he said after recovering. "Racing here is not easy. This is Indonesia.

"This is a miracle for me I can finish. This is a miracle."

Hayato Katsuki of Japan took gold with 4:03:30.

China's Wang Qin took silver, and Joo Hyun Myeong of South Korea bronze. Three competitors did not finish. - AFP