Akshdeep and Priyanka Win Men's And Women's 20km Race Walk Gold
The men's 20km race walk qualifying time for both the World Championships to be held in Budapest in August and 2024 Olympics is 1:20:10
- Press Trust of India
- Updated: February 14, 2023 05:11 PM IST
Unheralded Akshdeep Singh clinched the men's 20km event gold with a stunning national record time to qualify for this year's World Championships as well as the 2024 Paris Olympics on the opening day of the National Open Race Walking Championships in Ranchi on Tuesday. Women's 20km event national record holder Priyanka Goswami also won a gold to qualify for both the World Championships and 2024 Olympics. The 23-year-old Akshdeep, who hails from Punjab's Barnala district, clocked 1 hour 19 minutes and 55 seconds to obliterate the earlier national record of 1:20:16 which was in the name of veteran Sandeep Kumar of Haryana, who finished a lowly seventh on Tuesday with a time of 1:23.28.
Suraj Panwar of Uttarakhand was second with a time of 1:20.11, missing the World Championships and Olympics qualifying time by a whisker.
Vikash Singh of Delhi was third with a time of 1:21.08 as 48 athletes completed the race.
The men's 20km race walk qualifying time for both the World Championships to be held in Budapest in August and 2024 Olympics is 1:20:10.
Priyanka, representing Uttar Pradesh, expectedly won the gold with a time of 1:28:50, just a tad below her national record of 1:28:45 which she had set in 2021.
A Tokyo Olympian, 26-year-old Priyanka had won a silver in the women's 10,000m race walk event in the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games.
Bhawana Jat of Rajasthan was second with a time of 1:29:44 while her state mate Sonal Sukhwal was third in 1:31:03.
The women's 20km race walk qualifying time for both the World Championships to be held in Budapest in August and 2024 Olympics is 1:29:20.
Akshdeep and Priyanka are the first Indians from athletics to have qualified for the 2024 Olympics after the qualifying window began from December 31, 2022 (to end on June 30, 2024).
The likes of star javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra and 3000m steeplechaser Avinash Sable have also qualified for the World Championships but they are yet to qualify for the 2024 Olympics.
The 2024 Olympics qualification window for individual events other than the 10,000m race, marathon, combined events and race walks is from July 1, 2023 to June 30, 2024.
Son of a farmer father and home maker mother, Akshdeep had cut his teeth at the Patiala University with well known coach Gurdev Singh. He then made it to the Sports Authority of India Centre in Bangaluru -- where he is currently training under national race walk coach Tatyana Sibileva -- through Khelo India Games.
Akshdeep, who was competing at U-20 level till 2018, had won a silver in the 2022 edition of the championships with a time of 1:23:14 which was his personal best till Tuesday's result. Before that, he had clocked 1:25:26 while finishing second first at the 2022 National Open Athletics Championships.
Last year, he won gold in Khelo India University Games in Bengaluru (1:26:44) and bronze in National Games in Gujarat (1:28:15).
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