India will send five female and eight male athletes to the Asian race walking Championship in Nomi, Japan.
Days after breaking the 20km national record and securing a 2020 Olympics berth, Bhawna Jat will spearhead the country’s women’s contingent in Nomi, Japan and is confident of bagging a gold medal at the event.
Bhawna Jat is a part of the 13-member race walking contingent selected by the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) for the 2020 Asian race walking championship to be held on March 15.
“It’s really likely that I will win a gold medal even if I match my timing from the National Championship,” Bhawna Jat told the Olympic Channel. “I want to enter the 1:28 mark so that I can target a medal at the 2020 Olympics.
“I've heard the weather in Japan is also good, this will help me acclimatize myself to the conditions just before. Of course, it will also be to break the national record again as well,” Bhawna Jat added.
Others on the list include Priyanka Goswami, who will be looking to requite her National Championship disappointment after narrowly missing out on the 2020 Olympics qualification by 36 seconds.
Apart from the two National Championship contenders, the five-member women’s list comprises Karamjit Kaur, Ravina and Sonal Sukhwal. Bhawna Jat completed her 2020 Olympics qualification timing in 1:29:54, well within the cut-off standard of 1 hour and 31 minutes.
The men’s team is led by veteran KT Irfan, who is incidentally the first Indian athlete to qualify for the 2020 Olympics. The Kerala race walker’s fourth-place finish at the previous Asian Race Walking Championship guaranteed him a berth in March last year.
The 30-year-old is joined by National Championship winner Sandeep Singh, runners-up Rahul and bronze medallist Vikash Singh. The Indian men’s squad has a larger contingent travelling to Japan with the likes of Devender Singh, Eknath Turambekar, Chandan Singh and Ganapathi Krishnan also included in the squad.