Indian 20km walker B Soumya qualifies for 2018 Asian Games
Asian Games silver medallist Khushbir Kaur narrowly missed the qualification mark.
What's the story?
Taicang in China played host to the IAAF Race Walking Team Championships this Saturday where India's National 20km Walking Champion B Soumya made the cut for the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta owing to her impressive time of 1:33:54 in the category.
Soumya's time may not be considered among the top bracket as the Indian finished in the 37th position overall out of 79 other athletes, but her time was good enough to see her comfortably qualify for the Asian Games with over a minute to spare.
In case you didn't know...
B Soumya broke the national record in the 20km walk category earlier this year in February by clocking a time of 1:31:28 which allowed her to narrowly beat the previous best of 1:31:40 set by Khushbir Kaur in Taicang in 2014. The Kerala native is expected to be a medal hope in the Asian Games too if she continues her good performances in the coming tournaments.
The heart of the matter
Speaking of Khushbir Kaur, the Asian Games silver medallist managed a time of 1:34:59 and missed qualification by the tiniest of margins. However, according to AFI officials, Khushbir Kaur will most likely make the cut anyway as will fellow walking athlete Manish Singh Rawat.
The Indian contingent were fairly disappointing overall, and could only muster up a position of 11th out of a total of 15 countries in the team event despite having the ability to go much higher.
Confirmation of qualification should be made official soon and the men's 20km walk event will be held on Sunday to see if there are any qualifications in this category too.
With the Asian Games coming up soon, it is imperative that Indian athletes start performing their best with walking being one of the sports the nation can depend on for a medal.