Aside from the two silver medals achieved in the 1900 Paris Olympics, India’s achievement in athletics in the mega event is nothing short of anything. Nevertheless, the resolutely determined young general is on a mission to break that trend once the Tokyo 2021 Olympics kicks off later this year.
Athletics has never been a strong suit for India at the Olympics, with double glory in the 1900 Paris Edition by Norman Pritchard Helping the nation off the mark. Nevertheless, the number has remained steady since, 121 years later, although two athletes have come close to changing dramatically. As the nation approaches another Olympiad, renewed hopes will lead to better results, but medal aspirations remain elusive.
The “Flying Sikh,” also known as Milka Singh, finished fourth in the men’s 400 meters race at the 1960 Rome Olympics, while PT Usha Similar results were achieved in the women’s 400m hurdles during the Los Angeles 1984 edition. It has been a wait-and-see game ever since, in search of the next track and field athlete in India who will break the trend as well as jinx.
The current ration gives a ray of hope, but it boils down to progress where it matters. Pedestrians in the race will lead India at track events in Tokyo, with up to five participants on the roster clogging. However, with the 4 * 400 relay teams showing steep progress in the past few years, we can’t dare to take our eyes off it.
So far, seven Indians have qualified for the 2021 Tokyo Olympics in track and road events.
KT Irfan (men walk 20 km)
KT Irfan is heading for his second gaming debut, leading the infantry group in the race as the most successful of the group. His brilliance is attributed to his finishing 10th in the London 2012 Olympics, a result that seemed unattainable to the Indian, and it also created a national record in the process. However, the farewell from the 2018 Commonwealth Games after violating the no-needle policy is a disgrace to his brilliant career.
The racer in the race from Malapuram was the first Indian to secure a berth for the mega event in athletics, when he finished fourth at the Asian Walking Championships in Nome, Japan, in March 2019. What appears to be his last shot on the scene, there are no half measures When stepping onto the track. As part of his pre-games preparations, Irfan changed his technique to get better results.
Sandeep Kumar (Walk 20 km men)
The race cyclist missed a pavement in Tokyo last year, giving up the Olympic cut of 34 seconds at the 2020 Walking Championships for the race. Then, in a similar venue, earlier in 2021, the Haryana-based athlete broke the qualification criteria with his timing at 1:20:16, surpassing the national record set by KT Irfan at the 2012 London Olympics.
The 35-year-old was a part of the 2016 Rio Olympics, having finished 35th in the men’s 50-kilometer walk. Olympic ambitions also hail from a farmer’s family, which seemed bleak in the early stages, but after joining the Gut Vogue center in 2006, Sandeep slowly plunged into the groove. This could be his last chance to put India on the world map when it comes to racing, while his decent form of preparation gives him a lot of confidence.
Rahul Rohila (Walk 20 km men)
Rahul Rohila is the fifth Indian contestant to qualify for the 20KM event at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. With a fantastic citizen-level outing in February 2021, follow in the footsteps of Sandeep Kumar and KT Irfan to book a ticket for the mega event in Tokyo, which is scheduled to begin on July 23. This achievement caught the attention of Federal Sports Minister Keren Rijo, who personally congratulated Rohila after the achievement. Although he is one of the juniors of the team, we cannot completely overlook him when the quadruple event begins in the Japanese capital.
Priyanka Goswami (ladies 20 km walk)
Priyanka Goswami’s qualification story reflects the story of fellow Indian contestant Sandeep Kumar, where the former just lost citizens last year. Which left her in remorse. However, her gut feeling reminded her that qualification was close. But she didn’t know the pandemic would prolong her anxious wait for an entire year. However, in 2021 a citizen, the Meerut-based player wrote her name among the Tokyo Indian Battalion in a meaningless way, with a national record time of 1:28:45.
As a student at the school, Priyanka tried her luck with gymnastics, but her experience with discipline only lasted for one month. The attractive rewards offered in athletics led her to flex her muscles in running activities, which ultimately led to her walking the race. With so many national titles under her belt, it is time to get into the big game, with a target of around 1:27 when the Tokyo Games come.
Bhawna Gat (Walk 20 km ladies)
In the 2020 Race Walking Championships, Bahuna Jat secured a berth for the Tokyo Olympics by clocking 1:29:54, setting a new national record at the time. Coming from a retro village in the farthest corner of Rajasthan, she defied odds and local notions before conquering the race walking events. Having trained in the early hours of the day to avoid criticism from the region’s conservative seniors, her success was sweeter.
After the sport recovered in 2009, while training on a 200-meter mud track, the road was too far to walk, but Bahawna found a way. From overcoming financial struggles in a family of farmers to seeking support from moneylenders to fund his training, she describes the Olympic qualification as “amazing”. With so many national titles already gracing its cupboard, international glory and what is the biggest stage of the Olympic Games awaits.
Avinash Sable(3000 m men checkpoints)
Walking the 6 kilometers from his home to school was the only distance he traveled during his adolescence, without knowing that he would dedicate his life to the path for several years. After serving in the Indian Army in the Siachen Glacier and Sikkim highlands and the deserts of Rajasthan, his accidental debut in the 2015 Inter-Army cross-country race was severely affected by his colleagues. However, that was the spark that led to the rest of his career.
Turned into contraindications, at a later date, he was growing in stature under Amrish Kumar’s watchful eyes. With a few years of intense training, the silver medal of the AFC Asian Championships 2019 in Doha was definitely on the cards, which also earned him a ticket to the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. Avenash in succession improved his timing and continued to break his records, writing a new national record in The Federation Cup, earlier this year. With a large crowd, the sable gives high hopes before the Olympics.
Muhammad Anas, Vismaya, Krishna Matthew and Noah Nirmal (4 * 400m mixed succession)
India’s 4 * 400-meter team qualified for the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, by virtue of reaching the 2019 IAAF World Championships finals, after finishing third in the second round of the semi-finals. The team composed of Muhammad Anas, Vismaya, Krishna Matthew and Noah Nirmal wrote 3: 16.14 seconds to reach the final, trailing only Poland and Brazil in the semi-finals. However, India’s past record indicates that they can do much better, with mixed tea, taking the highest honors at the 2018 Asian Games with a time of 3:15:71. Since the men’s 4 * 400m team has yet to make a cut due to the paucity of championships, the spotlight is entirely on the mixed team.
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