Massimo Stano of Italy conquered the heat in Sapporo to win the Olympic men’s 20-kilometre race walk on Thursday as host nation Japan took silver and bronze. The event was held in the northern city of Sapporo to avoid Tokyo’s searing summer heat but temperatures were still an uncomfortable 32 degrees Celsius (90 degrees Fahrenheit) when the race began. Stano, 29, mastered the conditions to win in 1hr 21min 05sec with Koki Ikeda nine seconds behind and Toshikazu Yamanishi trailing in third. It was Italy’s third gold medal of the Tokyo Olympics athletics programme after the surprise men’s 100m win for Marcell Jacobs and the shared gold medal in the men’s high jump for GianmarcoTamberi. Stano is the third Italian to win the 20km walk event after Maurizio Damilano in 1980 and Ivano Brugnetti in 2004.