The racewalking team of India for Tokyo 2020 got an additional asset in the form of 50km racewalker Gurpreet Singh, who made it to the quadrennial extravaganza on account of his world rankings. Singh is currently ranked 104 in the global list.
Gurpreet Singh tasted recent success after finishing first in the 50km race-walking event at the 8th National Championships held at Ranchi in February 2021. In the event, he clocked a winning time of 3 hours 59 minutes and 42 seconds, which he carries into the Olympics as his personal best. The army man had earlier won the silver in the 7th edition of the same tournament.
Receives a congratulatory message from MYAS
Following his qualification confirmation by the AFI, Union Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports Kiren Rijiju congratulated the 38 year old athlete quoting, "I congratulate Gurpreet Singh who will be representing India in Men’s 50 km Race Walk at #Tokyo2020 after qualifying through his world ranking. All the best Gurpreet!"
Gurpreet joins a star studded line-up comprising of India's best performer in Olympics 20km race-walking consisting of KT Irfan, Sandeep Kumar, Rahul Rohila, Bhawna Jat and Priyanka Goswami. While rest of the athletes will walk for the tri-colour in the 20km race, Gurpreet Singh remains India's only entry in the longest event of the Olympic programme. Interestingly, it is the only athletics event at major championships still contested by just men.
AFI announce 26-member squad for athletics
Athletics Federation of India, the apex organization for regulation of track and field events in the country, on Tuesday, released the list of 26 athletes who will shoulder India's medal responsibilities in the athletics event at the upcoming Olympics. Indian Navy's MP Jabir becomes the first ever Indian to qualify for the 400m men's hurdles. Despite missing on the Olympic cut-off, star short distance sprinter Dutee Chand has been able to book her seat in the team, on account of world rankings. 50-km race-walker Gurpreet Singh became the 26th athlete to qualify for the quadrennial event, thus completing the 26-member list.
Men: Avinash Sable (3000m Steeplechase); MP Jabir (400m Hurdles): M Sreeshankar (Long Jump); Tajinderpal Singh Toor (Shot Put); Neeraj Chopra and Shivpal Singh (Javelin Throw); KT Irfan, Sandeep Kumar and Rahul Rohilla (20km Walk) and Gurpreet Singh (50km Walk); 4x400m Relay: Amoj Jacob, Arokia Rajiv, Muhammed Anas, Naganathan Pandi, Noah Nirmal Tom; 4x400m Mixed Relay: Sarthak Bhambri, Alex Antony.
Women: Dutee Chand (100m and 200m); Kamalpreet Kaur and Seema Antil-Punia (Discus Throw) and Annu Rani (Javelin Throw); Bhawna Jat and Priyanka Goswami (20km Walk) and (Mixed 4x400m Relay): Revathi Veeramani, Subha Venkatesan & Dhanlakshmi Sekhar.