Indian race walker Gurmeet Singh rebounded from last year’s disappointing ninth place finish in stunning fashion to take the gold this year at the 11th Asian 20 KM Race Walking Championships at Nomi City, Ishikawa Prefecture in Japan on Sunday. The 30-year-old put up a stupendous performance to bring up his season’s best timing of 1 hour 20 minutes 29 seconds, which is just 8 seconds slower than KT Irfan’s national record.
The silver went to Japan’s Isamu Fujisawa who clocked 1:20:49 while Georgiy Sheiko of Kazakhstan picked up the bronze for 1:21:52.
This event had been a happy hunting ground for Gurmeet for most of his career. He captured the silver medal in 2012, besides, two bronze medals in 2013 and 2014. However, last year was a setback but he managed to push it out of his mind to come back strongly this time.
Gurmeet had been in impeccable form this season as he came into this event on the back of a gold medal win at the National Championships in Jaipur last month. He had secured a Rio Olympic berth last year at the Asian Racewalking Championships itself. For the Uttarakhand walker, who aims to finish in 1 hour 18 minutes, it will be his second consecutive Olympics after having featured at the London Games in 2012.
In the women’s race, India’s star racewalker Khushbir Kaur was absent as she is still recovering from a leg injury which she sustained at the National Championships. The best Indian result was a fourth-place finish by National Games winner Sapna, who clocked 1:35:57.Published 20 Mar 2016, 19:21 IST