Athletics

National race walk championships: It’s Irfan & Soumya

Walking to glory: K.T. Irfan began the new season on a confident note.

Walking to glory: K.T. Irfan began the new season on a confident note.  

Both nowhere near their personal best

Olympian race walker K.T. Irfan had the worst possible year of his career in 2018.

He was ejected from the Gold Coast Commwealth Games village after his roommate was found with a syringe in his bag, a few days after the race. And in the subsequent Jakarta Asian Games, he was disqualified.

The 29-year-old from Kerala, who holds the National record, however, began the new season on a confident note by winning the men’s 20K gold in the sixth Open National race walk championships here on Saturday in a time of one hour 26 minutes and 18 seconds.

It was a far cry from his personal best of 1:20.21 at the 2012 London Olympics.

B. Soumya (Kerala) coasted to a relatively easy victory in the women’s 20K category in a time of 1:40.25. Priyanka finished second in 1:41.20.

Soumya was behind Priyanka and Karamjit Kaur in the first 11 laps and after that she took control of the proceedings.

Soumya couldn’t come anywhere close to her National record of 1:31.28 set in Delhi last year in the same event.

Warnings

Karamjit was handed three warnings and was asked to start from the pit lane.

She did not want to continue as she thought she had already lost a lot of time.

“There was some problem with the road. And also I missed the services of [Russian] coach Alexander Artsybashev,” said Soumya. It is learnt that Alexander will soon join the team in the camp.

In the top bunch, which included Sandeep Kumar, Chandan Singh, Devender Singh and Ganapathi Krishnan, Irfan was trailing for most part of the race.

He picked up speed in the last 1km to breast the tape one second ahead of Devender.

“It feels great but I am not happy with the timing.

“It was partly due to the humid weather conditions and the sloped roads,” said Irfan.

Unable to make the qualification grade for the Doha World Championships in September-October, both Irfan and Soumya said they will definitely make the grade in the Asian championships to be held in Nomi (Japan) next month.

Compared to the previous five editions, the Chennai event saw the poorest time recorded by the winners.

The results:

20km, men: 1. K.T. Irfan (Ker) 1:26.18; 2. Devender Singh (Har) 1:26.19; 3. Sandeep Kumar (Har) 1:26.19; 4. Chandan Singh (Utk) 1:26.20; 5. K. Ganapathi Krishnan 1:26.43.

Women: 1. B. Soumya (Ker) 1:40.25; 2. Priyanka (UP) 1:41.20; 3. Ravina (Har) 1:41.46; 4. Sonal Sukhwal (Raj) 1:42.55; 5. Bandana Patel (UP) 1:49.29.

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Printable version | Feb 19, 2020 6:25:33 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/athletics/national-race-walk-championships-its-irfan-soumya/article26292283.ece

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