Indian female race walker Bhawana Jat earned a place on the flight to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in the 20km RaceWalk event after smashing the national record during the National Race Walk Championships on Saturday.
The 24-year-old athlete from Rajasthan put up a record time of 1 hour, 29 minutes and 54 seconds to clinch the top place on the podium at the Seventh National Race Walk Championships. In the process, she easily beat the Olympic qualification mark of 1:31.00.
Bhawna’s previous best in the category stood at 1:38.30, which she managed to set in October last year.
“It’s a dream come true. I was doing in the range of 1:27:00s during training and so I knew that if the conditions are all right I would be able to breach this Olympic qualifying mark of 1:31:00s,” Bhawna, who is currently a Train Ticket Examiner in Indian Railways, posted in Kolkata, was quoted as saying by PTI.
“It was pure hard work in the last few months with my coach that I am being able to come up with this kind of performance,” said Bhawna, who trains on the road around the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur.
"My target was 1:28-1:29, really put a lot of hard work in training over the last three months. Thanks to my mother & father for always supporting me & thanks to my department in #IndianRailways," said New National Record maker Bhawna Jat, winner of 20km (Women) RW in #Ranchi pic.twitter.com/Z80Q1eVyEk
— Athletics Federation of India (@afiindia) February 15, 2020
On the other hand, Priyanka Goswami narrowly missed out on the qualification with timing of 1:31:36, only 36 seconds less than the standard time of Tokyo qualification.
Sandeep Kumar, in the men’s event, had to face a similar fate. Despite winning the race with a time of 1:21:34, the race walker sadly missed out on the Tokyo Olympics by a margin of 34 seconds. The Olympic Games qualification is set at 1 hour 20 minutes.
Nonetheless, Kumar can still qualify for this year’s Sporting extravaganza at the Asian Race Walk Championship which will be held in Japan next month.
“Will try to further improve timing if selected for Asian RW Championships next month in Japan and try to qualify for Tokyo 2020,” he said.
Last year, KT Irfan had become the 1st player from athletics to make it to the Tokyo Olympics after finishing 4th in the 20 km event of the Asian Race Walking Championships held in Nomi, Japan.