How did Ram Baboo qualify for Paris Olympics 2024

Day 6 - World Athletics Championships Budapest 2023
Ram Baboo at the World Athletics Championships Budapest 2023 (Image Courtesy: Getty Images)

Hailing from the Bahuara village in Sonbhadra district of Uttar Pradesh, Indian track athlete Ram Baboo is all set to take part in his debut Olympics in Paris. His journey so far has been similar to a fairytale. From working as a daily wage laborer and as a waiter at a hotel to shining bright on the international stage, the UP-born athlete has now developed a strong reputation in the country.

Ram Baboo came into the limelight when he secured a bronze medal in the mixed 35km race walk at the Hangzhou Asian Games. Before that, he also scripted a new national record in the 35km race walk at the National Games. Notably, Baboo registered a timing of 2 hours, 36 minutes, and 34 seconds to surpass Juned Khan's record of 2 hours, 40 minutes, and 16 seconds.

In March 2024, Baboo breached the Paris Olympics qualification mark for the 20 km race walk when he registered a timing of 1 hour, 20 minutes, surpassing the standard set - 1 hour, 20 minutes, and 10 seconds. He achieved the feat at the Dudinska 50 sports tournament and as a result, won a bronze medal too

Ram Baboo will eye for a medal in the Summer Games

Ram Baboo, in his mid-20s, is not exactly a favorite to salvage a medal at the Paris Olympics. But, the determination the track athlete has shown in recent times is commendable. He is currently training under Basanta Bahadur Rana, who himself was a former athlete and registered the national record back then by clocking 3 hours, 56 minutes, and 48 seconds in the 50km race walk category.

The tournament in Dudince, Slovakia, served not only as a good preparatory ground but also helped the 25-year-old to perform under severe conditions - the temperature on the day he earned qualification to the Olympics was about seven degrees. Moreover, there was expected rain just before the event, which caused more problems for most of the athletes since the weather became chilly and the track was wet.

Ram Baboo is one of the seven athletes to have achieved the qualification mark. However, only three of them will be participating in the Paris Olympics. It is notable to mention that, Baboo has the best timing after Akshdeep Singh and Suraj Panwar.

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