Suraj Panwar and Akshdeep Singh had a memorable outing on Tuesday in the Men’s 20km race walk.
Panwar became the fourth Indian to qualify for the Paris Olympics in the men’s 20km race walk and clocked one hour, 19 minutes and 43 seconds (1:19:43) at the Open Race Walking Competition in Chandigarh. The 23-year-old Panwar bagged the silver medal for his effort. The men’s 20km race walking qualifying standard for the Olympics is 1:20:10.
Akshdeep Singh sets new record
Meanwhile, Akshdeep Singh clocked 1:19:37 and set a new national record in the process, to defend his title. He met the Paris qualification time at the same competition last year. He claimed the bronze medal with a timing of 1:20:29 and fell short of breaching the entry standard for Paris 2024.
Vikas Singh and Paramjeet Bisht are the other two athletes who have already fulfilled the entry standard in the men’s 20km race walk. It has been also noted in the women’s event that Manju Rani won the gold medal with a personal best timing of 1:34:16. She was followed by Payal (1:34:45) and Munita Prajapati (1:35:36) on the podium.
National record holder Priyanka Goswami breached the qualification time for the Paris Olympics at the same competition last year. The entry standard for the Paris 2024 Olympics in the women’s 20km race walk is 1:29:20.
National federations are allowed to send a maximum of three athletes to participate in the men’s 20km race walk event during the Paris 2024 Olympics. However, meeting the entry standard is only one aspect of the Olympic qualification process. Ultimately, the decision to select Suraj Panwar for the NOC team for the Games lies with the National Olympic Committee.