The performance of Sandeep Kumar, India’s two-time Olympian, at the World Athletics Race Walking Team Championships in Oman on Saturday, will be a good learning lesson, says national athletics coach Gurmeet Singh.
With a time of 1:26:45, Kumar finished a creditable 13th in his first major race of the year. It was also Kumar’s best ever finish at the World Championships, his coach noted.
The national athletics coach said he will discuss with Kumar in detail his Oman race walking experience when he is back at the national camp in Bengaluru.
“Experience in Oman will enable us to chalk out plans for the upcoming international events. We have to work smartly to stay on course to improve our overall position at the global level."
The Indian race walker stayed with a chasing group of six athletes in the first half of the 20km race walk. The two Japanese were ahead of the leading group and eventually finished 1-2.
But as the race progressed, Kumar had to work extra hard due to warm and humid local weather conditions of Oman. Kumar finished in sixth position but the overall results were changed due to a two-minute penalty inflicted due to infringement of rules. He was eventually declared 13th in the race.
Speaking further about the future of Sandeep, coach Gurmeet added:
“We have to adapt to the global trend of racing fast in the second half of the race. That’s the way to move forward."
World Athletics Race Walking Team Championships: Other results
Tough weather conditions also tested India’s promising race walking talent Suraj Panwar, who clocked a personal best of 1:28:18 to finish 25th overall in his first senior international race.
Japan’s Toshikazu Yamanishi and Koki Ikeda won gold and silver in the men’s 20km event respectively. While Yamanishi clocked 1:22:52, Ikeda crossed the finish line at 1:23:28. Kenya's Samuel Gathimba took home bronze with a time of 1:23:52.
Earlier in the morning session on Saturday, India’s Olympian from Tokyo, Priyanka Goswami made her debut in the 35km race walking event. She finished 20th in a field of 29 athletes. Her time of 3:13:19 was better than the previous national record of 3:15:17 set last year.
Ecuador’s Glenda Morejon won gold in the women’s 35km race walk. Her winning time was 2:50:26. Ecuador also won team gold. China’s Li Maocuo clocked 2:50:26 to win silver while Poland’s Katarzyna Zddieblo claimed bronze with a time of 2:51:48.
In the men’s 35km race walk, India’s Sambhaji Turambekar clocked 2:45:17 to finish 27th in a field of 51 athletes. Chandan Singh and Ram Baboo were 38th and 46th respectively.
Sweden’s Perseus Karlstrom emerged as the winner in the men’s 35km race walk. He clocked 2:36:14. Spain’s Alvaro Martin was second at 2:35:54, while Martin’s teammate Miguel Angel Lopez was third at 2:37:27.